SACRAMENTO, CA - Californians already know the ups and downs of gas prices.
But the oil industry says the state is sitting on a game changer.
Underneath the Golden State is supposedly 15 billion barrels of oil mostly from the Monterey Shale which stretches hundreds of miles.
If true, the vast reserves could position California as the next oil boom state creating jobs and filling government coffers
"You could replace all the foreign imports in California for something like 50 years," said Tupper Hull with the Western States Petroleum Association. "It's a huge amount of oil."
But the way to get unreachable oil or natural gas deposits out of trapped rock is controversial.
Hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" involves injecting into the earth huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure below acquifers.
While fracking has been going on in California for decades, new technology makes it easier to wade through California's complicated geology.
"There have been wells that have failed and have lead to contamination. It is not associated with hydraulic fracturing, though," said Tim Kustic with the California Department of Conservation.
Under pressure from critics who say fracking is largely unregulated in California, state lawmakers are finally holding hearings about the hotly debated extraction method.
While earthquakes are a concern, health issues seem to be a priority.
"It's really a sham," said Adam Scow with Food and Watch Watch. "It will not secure our energy future. It will merely pollute our water and our air. It should be banned."
Gov. Brown has already proposed regulations requiring companies to disclose where they intend to drill and what chemicals they'll use. Still, environmentalists aren't satisfied.
The national debate on fracking was recently featured in the movie, "The Promised Land," starring Matt Damon.