While the California oil industry's propaganda about potential jobs creation from a potential oil boom are full of flim-flam and bogus data, it must be said that existing oil jobs are not a mere illusion and should not be ignored. According to federal data and standard multipliers, about 100,000 or so jobs in California are directly and indirectly created by oil and gas upstream and midstream (production and transportation). Those are real jobs, inhabited by real people. As I mentioned in my Next Generation-Post Carbon Institute panel in Sacramento last week, any legislation that would shut down a significant part of the state's oil and gas industry could have a genuine, non-trivial effect on jobs.
Case in point is SB1132, which would place a moratorium on "all well stimulation treatments" until a study is done that essentially absolves oil and gas production from having any adverse environmental impact. In context, this is essentially equivalent to a permanent shut-down of a significant portion of the state's oil and gas industry.
Cathy Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, thumps the drums effectively in an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. She overstates the case, but not by much:
We don’t know what the endgame is of the radical anti-oil “fractivist” groups like the Center for Biological Diversity. We do know what will happen if they succeed in stopping oil production in California.
Thousands of Californians – many of them hardworking, middle-class individuals who work in the San Joaquin Valley’s oil fields, as well as those in other parts of the state whose livelihoods depend on a thriving energy sector – will lose their jobs.
The environmental organizations supporting SB 1132 don't seem to have paid any real attention to this. To my knowledge, there is no information publicly available about what proportion of current production would be shut down by SB 1132. Plunging ahead amid this vacuum of information is dangerous. Jobs are the nitty-gritty of politics, and any serious political movement needs to take the subject seriously. The electoral consequences could be brutal.