Gavin Newsom, the good looking and smooth-talking Democrat Governor of California, has inflicted so much financial damage to the state that it will likely take decades to recover, if recovery is even possible.
His destructive energy policies have contributed to these problems. Rather than reducing energy demand or the use of fossil fuels in the state, Newsom’s policies have simply shifted where the energy is produced, from domestic suppliers to foreign countries. The California “showman” seems to be mostly driven by his emotions to go “green,” virtue signaling his environmental bona fides in a desire for instant gratification.
California’s Energy Dependence Grows
California’s dependence on foreign suppliers for the state’s energy needs, as well as for military operations on the West Coast, has resulted in an increase in imported crude oil from foreign countries from 5 percent in 1992 to 58 percent today of total consumption. This has occurred even as the percentage of the nation’s oil supply coming from foreign sources has declined significantly. America has largely become energy independent even as, under Newsom’s control, California has become more dependent on foreign oil than ever before.
As a result of the Newsom’s continuous efforts to reduce in-state oil production, the imported supply of crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day, being paid foreign supplier countries.
Newsom’s policies producer greater emissions rather than less. The foreign suppliers of California’s energy demands have significantly less stringent environmental regulations than California and the United States. In addition, shipping oil to California produces greater emissions than would be emitted if the oil was produced in state or shipped there by truck or rail from other states. Shifting emissions to other countries is not a sound environmental policy.
In an effort to boost his environmental credentials, on Earth Day 2021 Newsom ordered an end to fracking in California by 2024, and required the state to attempt to phase out oil production within the state by 2045. These irresponsible actions will result in job losses in the state and reduce revenue to state coffers, while increasing worldwide emissions. It is estimated Newsom’s policies will result in a whopping $90 million being shipped every day to foreign countries to support California’s economy. California’s port infrastructures aren’t capable of receiving all its energy from foreign countries, yet Newsom stymies every effort expand and upgrade port infrastructure for fossil fuel deliveries.
California Energy Supplies
Newsom evidently believes it’s better to import crude oil rather than increasing in-state oil production from California’s shale reserves and ocean crude oil reserves, in the Monterey Shale and Pacific Ocean—estimated to be among the largest such reserves in the country. Approximately 2 billion barrels economically recoverable oil off Santa Barbara’s coasts are off-limits to production due to state and federal moratoria on outer continental shelf oil production along the West Coast. Large reserves of oil and natural gas are within seven miles of the coast. This is significant because, with proven slant-drilling technology, formations within seven miles of shore are largely accessible from land-based slant drilling. This energy could be produced without any risk of offshore spills.
Electric Vehicle Projections
A recent 2021 California study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows that electric vehicles (EVs) are driven half as much as internal combustion engine vehicles. NBER found EVs are generally second vehicles, not the primary workhorse vehicles for those high-incomes individuals who can afford them.
For California EV lovers, the good news is 50 percent of all EVs in America are in California. The bad news is a recent study showed 18 percent of California’s EV owners switched back to gasoline cars because charging their electric cars was a hassle, taking far too much time.
Newsom wants all 30 plus million vehicles in the state to be electric but has yet to accept the fact there may not be enough of the “green” exotic minerals and metals readily available to accomplish that milestone. According to Cambridge University Emeritus Professor of Technology Michael Kelly, replacing all the United Kingdom’s 32 million light duty vehicles with next-generation EVs would require huge quantities of materials to manufacture 32 million EV batteries: such as lithium, cobalt, copper, and neodymium. These and other critical minerals are mined and refined almost entirely in foreign countries, like China, with economic and geopolitical interests often at odds with those of the United States.
Energy Policies May Cost Newsom His Job
And then there are the land requirements for the all-green energy transformation Newsom is pushing. Newsom seems oblivious to the fact that finding the land for all the intermittent electricity generation from wind and solar power will not be easy.
Opposition to solar and wind farms from rural landowners and conservationists is growing even as California and other states push ever more stringent renewable energy mandates. Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law released a report in February 2021 that found local governments in 31 states have adopted at least 100 ordinances blocking or restricting new wind and solar industrial facilities.
Governor Newsom’s policies inflict international environmental degradation, raise energy prices in the state, and financially damage California by driving jobs out of the state and reducing revenues flowing into its treasury. This triple whammy is one reason why Newsom faces a looming recall election that may soon put him out of a job.
Ronald Stein (Ronald.Stein@PTSadvance.com) is the founder of PTS Advance, an energy and science consulting and recruitment firm based in Irvine, California.