Last December, Gov. Jerry Brown said a key reason to pursue very costly alternative energy was that America was running out of oil. During the presidential campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s declaration that he wanted North America to be energy independent by 2020 drew snickers in social media.
Now, thanks to the International Energy Association, maybe we can mothball this ignorance. As a new IEA report notes, the U.S. is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer, thanks to improved methods of hydraulic fracturing – aka, fracking – that make it far easier to get to oil shale supplies.
But while this finally sinks in with the public, we’d like to point out something that has barely gotten any media attention: California can lead this energy revolution if its leaders have the foresight to make it happen, creating many tens of thousands of jobs and vast new wealth.
A 2011 federal report on California’s biggest oil shale resource, known as the Monterey Formation, estimated it had at least 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil. That’s four times bigger than the Bakken formation, where oil drilling has turned North Dakota into an economic dynamo. Our state’s shale resource extends from the eastern edge of Silicon Valley south to Kern County.