Maybe I missed something crucial.

I dunno, man.  I sorta mostly agree with some of what this article talks about.  But I can’t get really worked up about it.  I believe what the author writes; that oil production didn’t see any restrictions on water use in the past drought.  The stuff about how yucky the water is after it gets used in oil production is new to me.  Maybe that’s a problem.  But overall, I think he’s bucking some pretty conventional wisdom with this piece, and for me at least, he isn’t persuasive.  Yes, oil production got all the water it could use during the drought.  By and large, most people agree that industrial processes should get priority for water, because they’re making things.  That may not actually be the case and perhaps this article is the kind of muck-raking that will start changing minds.  But I bet that if you ask laypeople how water should be allocated in the state, they’d say: me first, business second, fishies third, cute farms fourth, non-cute farms last.  You could maybe switch around the cute farms and the fish.  But saying that oil production, or industry in general, got their water in the drought isn’t going to raise a lot of eyebrows.

I have to complain about the attempt to make this sound like a big problem.  The oil industry got 8.4 billion gallons!  Eight point four BILLION!  Except, like, gallons are tiny.  You can even carry a gallon.  What is 8.4 billion gallons in real units?  Oh.  Twenty-five thousand acre-feet?  You wrote an article about 25,000 acre-feet of water in California?  Yes, every bit is precious, but unless you’re telling me a small town halved their consumption and saved 25,000 acre-feet, I’m not that intrigued.  We can all do this in our heads by now.  You’re talking the equivalent of 8,000 irrigated acres.  In the San Joaquin Valley, that’s rounding error.

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