In case you missed the Wall Street Journal’s recent editorial (5/4) comparing oil booming Texas to over-regulated California, we wanted to be sure to highlight this important story because it’s a not-so-micro microcosm of the energy opportunity facing our country.

California, once one of the top three energy producing states in the nation, has lost its top spot to North Dakota, who now joins energy titans Alaska and Texas.

The column points out how impactful an expanding energy industry can be to a state’s economy when it welcomes energy development.  Restricted by politics and policy, California is unable to take advantage of its offshore reserves and the Monteray Shale, both believed to be abundant resources. Meanwhile, Texas is capitalizing on its private leases within the Eagle Ford shale and doubling its oil production.

Stats show that more than 400,000 Texans work in the oil and natural gas industry – nearly 10 times as many as in California. The average salary is $100,000 in an industry that generates $80 billion a year in economic activity. The Journal goes on to say:

In short, Texas loves being an oil-producing state while California is embarrassed by it. And it’s no accident that Texas has been leading the nation in job creation since the recession ended. The energy boom is creating thousands of jobs related to drilling but also in downstream industries such as transportation, high-technology, construction and manufacturing. The Texas jobless rate is 6.4% while California’s is still the third highest at 9.4%.

In short, the editorial presents an excellent case study of the two states’ economies and poses the question of whether the nation will embrace America’s oil and natural gas wealth with comprehensive pro-development policies.