A new local movement designed to fight for California’s oil and gas industry has sprung up to raise awareness against competing interests in the state.
Playing on the popular My Job Depends on Ag movement, BizFed Central Valley launched the My Job Depends on Oil advocacy movement Thursday at Smartway Express Trucking Company in south Fresno.
“There’s a debate going on about transportation fuel all across this country, and especially here in California where more than a quarter million workers directly work in the oil and gas industry. And they’re under assault,” BizFed CEO Clint Olivier said. “They’re under assault from bureaucracies. They’re under assault from politicians. So what this is all about is getting a sticker, getting it on your car, getting it on your rig, getting it on your forklift and letting folks know my job, my community, my family depends on oil.”
Steve Malanca, a westside farmer and creator of the My Job Depends on Ag sticker, said his original goal with creating the decal was to raise awareness for Central Valley farmers, which he believes has worked.
He said he was inspired to start the movement from former Fresno State football coach Pat Hill, who placed a green V on the back of the helmets to rally the region’s agricultural base behind the team.
“What Pat wanted to do was to bring the Valley together and create a great football powerhouse here and unite the Valley. The same attempt with My Job Depends on Ag’s decal was also to try to unite the industry. And now we have My Job Depends on Oil,” Malanca said.
“And I know that this decal will be embraced by that industry, and now driving down the road people will recognize two types of decals about the same size and it will be hoping to bring awareness for all of us. And by bringing us all together and uniting, perhaps, voting for our particular industries that we’re a part of may make a difference.”
Statewide, the oil and gas industry encompasses a $150 billion economic impact, nearly 7.5 times more than the impact of agricultural exports leaving California.
Nearly 366,000 people are employed in the industry that pays an average wage of over $80,000.
Nearly 3,000 of those workers reside in Fresno County. The oil and gas industry results in over $370 million in state and local tax revenue through its Fresno County operations, totalling $1.67 billion in economic impact.
In Kern County, more than 14,000 people are employed by the industry, which accounts for nearly six percent of the county’s total workforce.
State and local tax revenue from the industry is $925 million, and the total local economic impact is $9,1 billion.
Kern County contains 40,480 of California’s 53,120 active wells and produces more than 70 percent of all oil in California.
Tyson Bagley, an employee at Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery in the Bay Area and the president of United Steelworkers Local 326, called out the California Legislature for disregarding the oil and gas industry and siding with environmental extremists.
“As you are aware, we have environmentalists and politicians that want to do away with oil extraction, refining and our livelihoods. They want to ban this industry, and if they are successful, California – with now the fourth largest economy in the world with 40 million people and 35 million cars – every single drop of oil will have to be imported from foreign countries,” Bagley said.
“These are places like Russia and the Middle East. They’re not friends of ours. In California we produce energy the safest and most environmentally friendly way under the most strict of regulations. These other places are notorious for bad environmental practices, poor workplace safety and the use of child labor to produce energy.”
Bagley warned that gas prices could top $10 per gallon in the future if the state does not reverse course and support oil drilling instead of continuing with its “extremist agenda.”
“We need to hold these politicians accountable and their feet to the fire,” Bagley said. “We need to remember that this industry changes lives. Not just for the people that use and buy our products, but for the 366,000 men and women that call this industry their career.”