Bakersfield Californian: New Aera CEO: Calls to ban in-state oil production 'a dangerous idea' for California (02/26/21)
The chief executive of the trade group California Independent Petroleum Association said by email Thursday that Bartsch has the right mix of science and business in his background to produce oil and natural gas while also protecting public health.
CEO Rock Zierman also vouched for Bartsch's concern.
"As a husband and father, he has shared that what keeps him up at night is that California is heading down a path that isn’t sustainable and leaves people vulnerable to decisions that are made on misinformation and highly charged emotion and not on the basis of sound data and science," Zierman wrote.
Gannett/Palm Springs Desert Sun: California sued over its oil and gas permitting practices (02/24/21)
The oil industry scoffed at the lawsuit.
"Just like many of (the Center for Biological Diversity's) frivolous lawsuits in the past, this will likely fail in the courts because the facts do not support their claims," Rock Zierman, California Independent Petroleum Association CEO, told The Desert Sun via email.
Zierman argued that it's better to rely on domestic oil and pointed to environmental impact reviews conducted in Kern County that analyzed oil and gas production and that, he said, gave "the public additional assurances that production occurs under the most stringent environmental protections on the planet."
Bakersfield Californian: State lawmakers debut bill to ban oilfield techniques common in Kern (02/18/21)
The head of a prominent industry group immediately criticized the bill as a legally questionable attack on thousands of highly skilled union jobs "that cannot be replaced by low-skilled and temporary jobs in the renewable (energy) industry."
CEO Rock Zierman of the California Independent Petroleum Association said in a statement Wednesday the legislation would "virtually ban all production in California" and make the state more reliant on oil brought by tanker from countries with environmentally inferior regulatory standards. He wrote it would "devastate the economies of oil-producing regions — especially the Central Valley."
Gannett/Palm Springs Desert Sun: Bill would ban fracking, other risky California oil production techniques by 2027 (02/17/21)
Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association, wasted no time responding. In a statement, he said the legislation would "virtually ban all oil production in California, killing thousands of quality highly-skilled, union careers that cannot be replaced by low-skilled and temporary jobs in the renewable industry" and would "make the Saudi royal family even richer all while eliminating the industry that is investing in the innovation needed to significantly reduce the state’s carbon footprint.”
A group of legislators and the California Independent Petroleum Association held a virtual press conference last month to urge Newsom to block any such legislation and abandon his own, slower approach to transition the state away from fossil fuels.
“Sacramento’s energy policies are hurting struggling Californians at a time when the wealthy are flourishing and the most vulnerable are on unemployment,” Rock Zierman, CIPA's chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The environment and the economy both can prosper if we continue to focus on meeting the state’s vast energy needs with oil and natural gas produced in California under the toughest standards on the planet."
Sacramento Bee: California Democrats move to ban fracking by 2027. Can their bill reach Gov. Newsom? (02/17/21)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, called the bill legally questionable, and said that it would kill thousands of union jobs that could not be replaced by the renewable energy sector.
“This also undermines California’s environmental leadership by making our state even more reliant on environmentally inferior foreign oil that is sent by tanker ship to our crowded ports which have an impact on air quality,” Zierman said in a statement.
Associated Press: California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027 (02/17/21)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, called the measure “legally questionable."
“Shutting down energy production under the toughest regulations on the planet will devastate the economies of oil-producing regions,” Zierman said.
KQED: California Lawmakers Propose Ban on Fracking, Other Oil Drilling Methods (02/17/21)
The Western States Petroleum Association and the California Independent Petroleum Association have said in the past that proposals to ban fracking and other drilling techniques will mean oil workers will suffer and California's reliance on fuel from sources outside of the country will increase.
The groups say bans on oil drilling will hurt consumers; that demand for gasoline in the state is too high to cut down on oil production; and that California is not set up yet energize enough electric cars and will need to rely on fossil fuel for years.
They also say environmentalists have misled the public about the dangers of well stimulation often done deep under the ground, far away from drinking water sources, and in remote parts of Kern County.
Hours after the proposal was released, the head of the California Independent Petroleum Association called the bill "legally questionable" and said it would kill thousands of union jobs.
"Shutting down energy production under the toughest regulations on the planet will devastate the economies of oil producing regions — especially the Central Valley — and make the Saudi royal family even richer while eliminating the industry that is investing in the innovation needed to significantly reduce the state's carbon footprint," said Rock Zierman, the association's president, in a statement.
Labor unions that represent oil industry employees have also raised concerns that the state curtailing petroleum production could hurt quality, high-paying blue-collar jobs.
CalMatters: California to review carbon trading program (02/16/21)
“Changing this market-based system now would only create economic uncertainty for businesses and raise costs for consumers, all at a time when the state’s overall economy is in a precarious position,” said Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, which represents independent crude oil and natural gas producers.
Desert Sun: Harvard study links fossil fuels to millions of 'premature' deaths (02/10/21)
The California oil industry argued that shutting down U.S. fossil fuels too quickly would be dangerous, as domestic energy sources were cleaner than the alternatives coming from countries with laxer environmental laws.
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, pointed out that the report didn't mention California specifically, "likely because the state has the toughest regulations on the planet to protect air quality." He added, "Continuing to meet the state’s vast energy needs with locally produced energy is better for our environment and our economy."
Bakersfield Californian: Politicians join industry's campaign against phasing out California oil production (01/13/21)
California's petroleum industry kicked off a public campaign Wednesday aimed at fending off efforts in Sacramento to scale back in-state oil and natural gas production.
A bipartisan coalition of mostly Central Valley lawmakers joined oilfield workers at an industry-hosted event that presented a list of reasons for permitting oil and natural gas production instead of moving forward with Gov. Gavin Newsom's calls to phase it out.
The effort spearheaded by the California Independent Petroleum Association came as several oil-related initiatives are expected to be put forward soon by the Newsom administration or the state Legislature.
Arguments made Wednesday in favor of preserving and even supporting the industry were summarized in a statement atop a petition, signed by almost 3,000 mostly Central Valley supporters, that CIPA plans to present to the governor:
"Governor Newsom, we urge you to protect quality careers and vital tax funding while ensuring Californians have access to affordable and reliable energy," the petition reads. "By prioritizing locally produced energy that is generated under the toughest environmental protections on the planet, you can maintain California’s climate leadership and protect our economy."
Four oil workers made statements by videotape at an online event CIPA put on for news media. Military veteran and Sentinel Peak Resources employee Javier Zavala said working in oil helped him buy a home, get through college, pay for his wife's doctorate and raise their children.
"I've been able to provide for my family thanks to a great career in oil and gas," he said.
CIPA CEO Rock Zierman pitched in to highlight the lower environmental standards used in other oil-producing countries, the tax base oil provides communities like Kern and the jobs and philanthropy the industry supports.
KBAK/KBFX-TV (CBS & FOX Bakersfield): Pro-Oil jobs petition, signed by 3,000 to be delivered to Gov. Newsom (01/13/21)
Governor Newsom has proposed to lower fossil fuels that can create climate change and still generate jobs, but politicians and workers in the oil and petroleum industry say this can't happen.
"I've been able to provide for my family thanks to a great career in oil and gas and it's helped out so many veterans like myself but also provides jobs to thousands of people across California," Javier Zavala with Sentinel Peak Resources, said.
Zavala is one of several workers in the oil or petroleum industry and says the industry is what provides for his family and many others too.
KERO-TV (ABC-Bakersfield): Governor Gavin Newsom's new budget plan draws criticism from oil industry (January 13, 2021)
The California Independent Petroleum Association held a virtual press conference this week where Assemblymember Vince Fong spoke of the importance of California's oil production.
"We all agree that we all need energy and oil independence in our state yet the governor's actions are doing the exact opposite. It's going to cause us to import more oil from foreign countries, shipping oil across thousands of miles of ocean, and we want California energy for, produced by Californians."
Aera Energy Matters Newsletter: Election brings challenges and opportunity for energy producers (December 10, 2020)
By Rock Zierman, CIPA CEO
The oil and natural gas industry provides the energy needed to make modern life possible and to fight the pandemic, whether that’s warming homes, cooking meals, powering laptops for remote work and distance learning, or even making surgical gloves and medical masks so health-care heroes can save lives.
Since oil and natural gas impact nearly every facet of our lives, it’s no surprise that energy policy took centerstage on the ballot box in races for the White House, State Capitol and halls of local government. The stark dichotomy in views comes from those who see a future without oil and natural gas and others, like us, who know innovation in our energy future will come from the oil and natural gas industry.
Bakersfield Californian: Battle lines drawn in Legislature's focus on fracking (12/08/20)
Rock Zierman, head of one of the oil industry groups most active in Sacramento, the California Independent Petroleum Association, noted by email that Newsom has significantly heightened scrutiny of fracking already.
He called for focusing instead on how to remove bureaucratic barriers to carbon capture and sequestration, an expensive technology aimed at sucking heat-trapping gas out of the atmosphere and storing it permanently underground. Researchers have said the technology appears to be well-suited to Kern County.
Ventura County oil wells drilled under old permits need environmental review (11/13/20)
Property owners argue they have constitutional and vested rights entitling them to the standard of review under which the permits were granted. A spokeswoman for the California Independent Petroleum Association reiterated that position at a public hearing the board held Tuesday in Ventura.
"We continue to believe this is a clear taking of an individual's constitutional rights," said spokeswoman Jennifer Rivera.
Valley Public Radio: Why Is Fracking In The News So Much? (11/06/20)
The oil industry, represented by groups like the California Independent Petroleum Association, say moving away from fracking will drive up energy costs for consumers.
“At a time when Californians pay more for energy while experiencing manmade ‘green outs,’ it doesn't make sense to hurt consumers, our economy, and our environment by banning California production,” said CIPA Chief Executive Officer Rock Zierman in an email. “We urge the Governor to ignore the rhetoric, stand up for science, and know that we are willing partners in California's climate future. The focus should be on reducing overall emissions, not picking winners and losers.”
The group says the oil industry is poised to invest in technology to take carbon out of the air, which could “result in negative emissions.”
Bakersfield Californian: Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture (10/25/20)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, emphasized the produced-water treatment that is happening locally has been limited by expenses including conveyance — construction of pipelines and canals to handle large volumes of fluid. Underground injection is the more efficient, environmentally sound disposal method, he said.
If there's to be greater reuse of produced water in agriculture, he said, it'll have to be initiated by local water districts and growers.
"I think it's going to be more driven by farmers' desire for more water sources," Zierman said.
Sacramento Bee: California wants to wind down its gas and oil industry. What does it mean for jobs? (October 1, 2020)
“It’s one of the few industries left in California for people who are not college graduates, or for second chancers who have a criminal record,” said Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
The industry is among the biggest employer in Kern County, with tens of thousands hired to drill wells. But the oil and gas jobs are everywhere in California, from those in the refineries in the Bay Area to others building oil and gas pipelines.
Those jobs are just not comparable in quality to those in the green energy sector, Zierman argued.
“Those green energy jobs just don’t pay the way oil and gas industry pay,” Zierman said. “You have a higher pay and upward mobility in the oil and gas industry than in green jobs.”
New York Times: California Plans to Ban Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars in 15 Years (September 23, 2020)
“Let’s be clear: Today’s announcement to curb in-state production of energy will put thousands of workers in the Central Valley, Los Angeles basin, and Central Coast on the state’s overloaded unemployment program, drive up energy costs when consumers can least afford it, and hurt California’s fight to lower global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rock Zierman, chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Association.
Associated Press: California Ban on Fracking By 2024 Criticized As Too Late (September 23, 2020)
California Independent Petroleum Association chief executive officer Rock Zierman meanwhile said the move will put thousands of people out of work, increase energy costs, and boost the use of foreign oil. The industry, he said, could help Newsom’s climate goals by removing carbon from the atmosphere, resulting in negative emissions.
Palm Springs Desert Sun: Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024 (September 23, 2020)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), said Newsom's moves on Wednesday — which also included a phase-out of sales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 — would cost jobs.
“Let’s be clear: today’s announcement to curb in-state production of energy will put thousands of workers in the Central Valley, Los Angeles basin, and Central Coast on the state’s overloaded unemployment program, drive up energy costs when consumers can least afford it, and hurt California’s fight to lower global greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
CalMatters: Newsom orders ban of new gas-powered cars by 2035 (09/23/20)
Oil companies were dismayed by the executive order's stance on fracking, with the California Independent Petroleum Association warning it could harm economic recovery and kill jobs.
Bakersfield Californian: Power shut-offs focus attention on local energy debate (August 22, 2020)
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, which has many prominent local members, said the shut-offs highlight the degree to which state legislators and activist groups are "transfixed on eliminating in-state oil and gas jobs rather than trying to accomplish a transition from one energy source to another."
He said anti-petroleum forces have failed to come up with a grand plan for building transmission lines and backup batteries that he asserts are necessary before the state can make more reliable use of renewable energy.
"As a result, this (the blackouts) is what you get," he said. "You get an energy system that does not reflect the fifth-largest economy in the world."
Bakersfield Californian: Scientists affirm adequacy of Kern fracking reviews (July 6, 2020)
The CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group noted in an email that fracking in California has now been reviewed by third-party scientists at least three times and found to pose no adverse environmental impacts.
"Keeping energy production local is better for the environment rather than relying on foreign oil from Saudi Arabia," CEO Rock Zierman wrote.
CalMatters: Wells linked to low birthweight (June 3, 2020)
Sabrina Demayo Lockhart, spokesperson for the California Independent Petroleum Association, said socioeconomic factors could explain the findings, such as access to prenatal care, low incomes and underlying health conditions.
“Pinpointing direct health outcomes to one highly regulated activity ignores the fact that there are so many socioeconomic variables that can impact public health,” she said. “California has the strongest environmental protections for oil and natural gas activity. Extremists will use the headlines to generate fear in their push for stricter regulations.”
Bakersfield Californian: Kern oil producers dodge worst of U.S. price collapse (April 21, 2020)
The unprecedented collapse in the nation's benchmark oil price this week is not expected to hurt Kern petroleum producers, local observers say, though it does reflect difficult market conditions weighing heavily on the county's economy and employment.
Because California is an "energy island" geographically isolated from much of the U.S. oil industry, local producers do not get paid based on the price posted for West Texas Intermediate, the domestic benchmark that sank into negative territory Monday.
Instead, most oil companies in Kern get paid according to prices of local and international grades of crude, which are down but not as low as WTI.
CEO Rock Zierman of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group said by email that as the economy recovers it will be important to continue producing oil in a state where domestic production supplies only about one-third of demand.
Bakersfield Californian: Oil producers brace for sustained slowdown as outlook dims (March 24, 2020)
Despite receiving a privileged designation from the state during the coronavirus pandemic, Kern County oil producers are hunkering down as dismal market conditions make it unlikely that investment and hiring in local oil fields will return anytime soon.
Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, said Kern County oil production will become uneconomical and wells will be shut in. He added his voice to the chorus of critics dismayed by Saudi and Russian price "manipulation."
He also pushed back against state regulatory changes that had slowed local oilfield activity even before this month's price drop.
"The state arbitrarily refusing to review permits will only make these problems worse and, in turn, hurt California consumers because our state is so dependent on Saudi oil for our vast energy needs," he wrote in an email.
Bakersfield Californian: Letter to the Editor: We can't afford AB 345 (March 17, 2020)
A recent column pushed for legislation that would ban oil production within parts of Kern County ("COMMUNITY VOICES: Codependency is toxic, be aware of AB 345," March 9).
There’s no scientific evidence that creating a distance from existing facilities would improve the toughest-on-the-planet regulations that producers already follow. Instead, this would only create a production ban. As a result, in order to meet the huge energy needs of our state, we would have to rely even more upon imported oil from places like Saudi Arabia that do not abide by our environmental or humanitarian protections.
In addition to thousands of Kern County workers losing quality careers which, on average, pay more than $100,000, the city and county would lose revenue for programs such as serving our homeless population, providing police and fire services, and funding for our schools.
It’s also important to note production setbacks work both ways. This legislation would tie the hands of policymakers to build desperately needed affordable housing here at home and across the state.
In Los Angeles, which has a fraction of the production we have here in Kern, the city’s own oil and gas administrator found it would cost the city up to $97 billion to establish a setback on existing and future production and could put the city at risk for expensive litigation costs annually. This is consistent with the Legislature’s own economic analysis that found statewide legislation to enact a setback would cost the state up to $3.5 billion and cautioned against expensive legal challenges.
Our community’s economy and environment cannot afford AB 345.
Willie Rivera, Bakersfield City Councilmember
Bakersfield Californian: Letter to the Editor: Oil should be here to stay (March 12, 2020)
It's disingenuous for so-called “environmental” groups to oppose the county’s environmental impact review of its enhanced oil and natural gas ordinance when it created 88 new mitigations for the industry to meet compliance.
The ordinance provides unprecedented transparency to our operations and adds additional environmental mitigation on top of the most stringent regulations anywhere in the world. In addition to the new county mitigation measures, Kern oil producers must follow the rules from nearly two dozen local, state and federal regulators.
The appellate court’s decision disregarding the thoughtful and detailed holding of the trial court is a major step backwards for environmental protection, energy security and the well-being of Kern County.
The massive mitigation measures the industry took under the ordinance change are now on hold. In total, the industry paid nearly $90 million in air quality mitigation alone since the ordinance took effect. That money has funded more efficient tractors for farmers and buses for our schools, improving air quality.
Extremists envision a world without California-produced oil, but Californians will still need to get to work, to school, cook their food and heat their homes. Our dependence on foreign oil has quintupled over the last two decades, mostly from Saudi Arabia — a country that does not share our humanitarian or environmental ideals.
Every barrel of oil not generated right here in Kern County is one more barrel we must import from regimes who have no concern for California’s best interests. In that scenario, the environment loses.
Natural Gas Intelligence: California’s Ability to Deal with Abandoned Oil, Gas Wells Again Questioned (March 12, 2020)
“The oil industry, not taxpayers, pays 100% of the costs to decommission onshore wells without a viable owner,” said California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman. “The state has decommissioned nearly 2,000 orphan wells in the last 30 years, all paid for by industry, not taxpayers.”
Recent legislation has also increased bonding requirements and requires companies to decommission a portion of their idle wells annually, he said. “Most permits issued today are to decommission wells, not drill new ones.”
Operators contribute to a fund annually, and the state may bill companies if there is a shortfall, according to Zierman. Recent state legislation has also increased bonding requirements and requires companies to decommission a portion of their idle wells annually.
Natural Gas Intel: California Decarbonization Transition, Reduction in Natural Gas Use Forecast to Take Up to 30 Years (March 6, 2020)
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman said the bans are not helpful to consumers or businesses. “Gas has helped the U.S. become a global leader in reducing carbon emissions and provides clean, reliable, and affordable energy,” he said. “Restricting consumer choice and affordability through this ban will make us more dependent on expensive and unreliable energy sources.”
Bakersfield Californian: County vows new oil review after court defeat (February 27, 2020)
CEO Rock Zierman of the California Independent Petroleum Association called the ruling "a major step backward for environmental protection, energy security and the well-being of Kern County." "The massive mitigation measures the industry took under the ordinance change will now be put on hold," he said by email. "Nobody wins under that scenario."
Bakersfield Californian: Study envisions CO2 reductions without reducing California oil production (02/04/20)
Bay Area scientists have identified a relatively low-cost path for California to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality in 25 years without cutting in-state oil production.
The head of a prominent oil trade group, the California Independent Petroleum Association, responded with an email saying its member companies are looking for ways to make oil production carbon neutral or negative by burying greenhouse gases and promoting use of what he called renewable natural gas. RNG, as that gas is called, comes from dairy digesters and landfills, among other sources.
"While extremists envision a future without California oil," CIPA CEO Rock Zierman wrote, "this report shows how California needs our industry’s proven record on innovation in order to meet the state’s aggressive climate goals."
Bakersfield Californian: State pledges to 'continue to listen' after oil meeting but industry remains skeptical (01/16/20)
The CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, Rock Zierman, wrote in an email that he thinks Tuesday's meeting and turnout will spur government to cut California's large permit backlog as the state grows ever more reliant on foreign oil.
KERO-TV (ABC – Bakersfield): Hundreds turn out as Governor's office meets with Kern Board of Supervisors about oil (01/14/20)
There was also no shortage of people stepping up to the podium in defense of the oil industry.
“We shouldn’t be talking about getting off of Kern county oil, we should be talking about getting more reliant on Kern County oil, and less reliant on oil that comes from other places," said Rock Zierman, CEO of California Independent Petroleum Association.
Natural Gas Intel: California Governor Asked to Stop Oil, Gas Drilling and End Permitting (01/09/20)
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman called the activists extremists who care more about “grandstanding than the environment.” He said they should support more in-state production.
“Our members are investing in new technologies to lower the carbon footprint of production to potentially make it carbon negative and offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sources,” Zierman said. Environmental groups “want us to increase our reliance on imported oil from the Middle East, which isn’t produced under our tough environmental rules and must be tankered to our ports.”
KBAK/KBFX-TV (Bakersfield): Military activity in Iraq raises calls to ramp up California oil production (01/08/20)
As Governor Newsom tries to limit oil production in California, conflicts abroad are complicating the process. Just twenty years ago most of California's oil was homegrown. Now about half comes from overseas; a quarter of that is from the Middle East alone.
"I think this should be a wake up call. I think they should be paying attention," Willie Rivera, a spokesman for the California Independent Petroleum Association said. "Extract the resources we have here instead of putting our fate in the hands of folks in the middle east who don't care about California."
Bakersfield Californian: Oil industry resists state regulatory action by making drilling personal (01/03/20)
CIPA spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart noted the group has actively worked, like KCE, to promote the industry at public meetings, including as county-level government proceedings.
One group it supports is Californians for Energy Independence, a statewide coalition that has pushed back on efforts to restrict domestic oil production, Lockhart said. That group, along with California Energy Workers and Careers in Energy, is intended to do similar work as KCE.
"We also want to make sure that our workers have a way to share their concerns about these policies that would put their jobs at risk," she said.