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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

California Energy

April 10, 2014

“Energy Independence: Domestic Opportunities to Reverse California’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Oil” was the topic of an oversight hearing held on April 4, 2014 by the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee

Congressman McClintock participated in the hearing, where topics discussed included energy exports, gasoline prices and A.B. 32 (California's global warming legislation).

Congressman McClintock
Transcript - Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee
April 4, 2014

Thank you Mr. Chairman thank you for holding this hearing, thank you for including the members of the California delegation in it.

I just want to begin by noting what my colleague from California, Mr. Huffman, mentioned in his opening statement; essentially that it makes no point to develop America’s vast energy resources if all we’re going to do is export them to other countries.

Well, I’m reminded as I look at North Dakota that North Dakota is exporting almost all of its oil to other states and is prospering enormously as a result.  Yet my colleague would deny California that same prosperity by exporting its oil to other states, and he would deny our country the same prosperity by exporting our oil to other countries.  I just don’t understand that.

My colleague cheers the reduction in California gasoline consumption since 2006.  I would need to remind him that that decline that he is cheering is the direct result of California now having [one of]* the highest unemployment rates in the nation.  When people aren’t working they aren’t driving to work. In fact, they are not driving anywhere because they can’t afford to.  That’s not progress, that is a tragedy.

If you want to know what an energy independent America looks like it looks a lot like North Dakota these days, with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, the most affordable energy in the nation,  a thriving and growing economy that is attracting people from throughout the nation.

And if you want to know what an energy dependent America looks like, well, that looks a lot like California with [one of]* the highest unemployment rates in the nation,  among the highest energy prices in the country, where people don’t buy gas because they can’t afford to.

I was listening with great interest to the testimony from Ms. Green from SOS.  I’m reminded of my California history when Juan Cabrillo dropped anchor in the Santa Barbara Channel in 1542 he noted that he was literally afloat in a sea of oil.  Carpenteria got its name because the Spaniards noted the Chumash were caulking their boats with all of the tar that absolutely covered the beaches there.

I grew up in that region.  I remember in the 1960s anybody who lived anywhere close to the beach had tins of turpentine in their garages because you couldn’t take a walk on any of the beaches in Ventura or Santa Barbara without ending up with gobs and gobs of this tar on your feet.  The turpentine was absolutely essential in any home whose people were visiting the beach.

But since that resource was developed, since we began drilling off the Santa Barbara Channel, that seepage has declined dramatically.  It’s a fraction of what it was years ago and you don’t find those tins of turpentine in peoples garages anymore because you no longer find the big globs of tar on the beach anymore, thanks to the development of that resource.

The representative from the California Energy Commission said that the demand for gasoline and other petroleum products is dropping relative to supply.  The lie is put to that claim by the very prices that we see every day on our gasoline pumps that are now at the highest prices I certainly remember.

If demand was dropping relative to supply the prices would be dropping, but they’re not dropping, they are growing dramatically.  I paid four dollars and thirteen cents for a gallon of gasoline in California last weekend.

That tells us that demand is not dropping relative to supply.  It is increasing relative to supply, it’s increasing dramatically.  That is the market screaming at us that we need more, much more oil production, not less.

I wish they were correct that demand is dropping relative to supply, that means that prices would be dropping.  They’re not.  

In California fewer people are driving, yet the supply in California is so tight that prices can’t drop, they keep inching upward.

*California is 4th in highest unemployment rates


Energy and Mineral Subcommittee information can be found here.