In his own words: Gov. Brown on fracking

May 19, 2013

By Chris Reed

Jerry Brown -2As I’ve written about repeatedly, the California media simply refuse to break away from the green narrative that fracking is new, dangerous and potentially catastrophic. All three assertions are belied by 60-plus years of fracking. Greens only started griping about fracking when information technology made it so much more efficient over the past decade that it made alternative energy seem like a far dumber alternative.

For this reason, I thought I would print in its entirety what Jerry Brown said about fracking in California at his Tuesday press conference outlining his revised 2013-14 state budget. Raise your hand if this is the impression you got from California’s mainstream media coverage of fracking. OK, none of you raised your hand. Back to the transcript:

“Reporter: …There’s a fairly healthy debate about hydraulic fracturing, fracking of oil. Some people say it could be a big boon to the economy, could be a boon to tax dollars in the state. There’s an intense debate about. Where do you stand on the issues?

“EGB: … I stand on intelligent analysis of the issues. We have a very good division of Oil and Gas, they are reviewing it, the Legislature has several bills. This is not about just saying, ideologically, yea or nay. It’s about looking at what could be a fabulous opportunity. But we want to make sure about the aquifers, some people are talking about earthquakes, a lot of different things, what are the chemicals, what do we know. And in addition, climate change is real. Now, the reason why I have some sympathy for oil drilling in California is because 98 percent of the people are using oil that is imported. And until we get them in electric cars or walking or riding on bikes, we need oil. But, we’ve got to get off it. Climate change is very real, it has passed 400 parts per million maybe, is serious stuff. So, I have to balance my strong commitment to deal with climate change and renewable energy with what could be a fabulous economic opportunity.

“And if you remember about oil drilling, oil drilling in Long Beach, which was really pioneered I think when my father was Governor, poured I don’t know how many billions, into higher education. So this could be good, but there are issues, and I want to look at them. I don’t deal with this thinking ‘oh the sky is falling in’ or, ‘Utopia has arrived.’ We’ve got to look at it. These are hard questions and we are going to look at them with a thoughtful way.


“Reporter: Sounds like you disagree with the moratorium, then?

“EGB: Well, let’s see the evidence. First of all, I don’t think they are ready to go yet. There’s a lot of technical engineering issues. So I think we have time to do it right.

“Reporter: Governor, what about the possibility of an oil severance tax?  Particularly given the potential Monterey Shale.

“EGB: Look, we just got a nice tax. 55 percent of the people voted for it and I think we ought to take a deep breath and show how we are spending it in a wise way, before we start looking around at ways to fill up more money. By the way those people who talk about oil tax – good luck. The last time we had one the oil companies spent almost 50 million dollars fighting it. Ideas that in the abstract may seem appealing, when you put them on the ground, they don’t work quite as well.”

When will CA media catch up with reality?

Read between the lines, and it sounds like the governor sees fracking as a great opportunity and doesn’t take the doom-and-gloomers all too seriously.

Which biegs this question: When will California mainstream media coverage of fracking begin to catch up with, yunno, reality?

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