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California Could Be Energy Independent

California Could Be Energy Independent

An oil refinery displays an American flag in Wilmington, Calif., on Sept. 21, 2022. (Allison Dinner/Getty Images)

Christian Milord

Christian Milord

9/25/2023

Updated: 12/21/2023

Commentary
Visualize for a moment jet aircraft, ships, mile-long trains, and other transport vehicles operating with solar or wind power. It’s difficult to imagine, isn’t it? That’s because it’s a pipe dream ginned up by green energy activists in the climate industrial complex. They contend that we can maintain a prosperous lifestyle with a zero-emissions power infrastructure.
When President Joe Biden cancelled offshore oil leases, halted the Keystone pipeline, shut down development in Alaska’s North Slope, and released millions of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana and Texas, he made a strategic blunder.
Mr. Biden has sold valuable oil to other countries and imported oil from nations that hate America. Why would he benefit our adversaries, such as China and Iran, when the United States has some of the largest natural gas and oil reserves in the world? We also have plenty of the minerals that are used to make electric vehicle batteries.
Since Mr. Biden took office, fuel prices have remained persistently high due to his rejection of energy autonomy. Some might argue that the federal government wants hostile regimes to run out of petroleum before America does, which would give it leverage in the energy business.
Mr. Biden, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom, have blamed oil companies for high gas prices, but they have made it difficult for oil firms to explore and extract due to excessive regulations and taxes on these companies. A reliance on OPEC member countries such as Saudi Arabia instead of domestic production can also trigger price uncertainty and supply chain volatility. Punishing domestic oil companies with lawsuits and picking winners and losers in the marketplace aren’t sound economic policies.
Climate fanatics ignore the fact that safety standards for drilling, fracking, and refining have vastly increased over the past 40 years. Moreover, we now have cleaner fuels, catalytic converters, and industry pollution controls that have improved air quality tremendously. Indeed, energy industries have likely done more to clean up the environment than the bureaucratic Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Mr. Newsom wants vehicle companies to stop producing internal combustion engines by 2035 and the state to eliminate fossil fuels by 2045. This is impossible, because nuclear power has been reduced in California, while solar and wind power can’t provide enough to power a large grid. His goal of carbon neutrality is fueled by a belief that climate change (global warming) is generated by fossil fuels and other human activities.
Human activity likely has some impact, but there are many divergent views on climate change, and the science isn’t settled. Several scientists, including Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, have articulated the flawed scientific methods utilized by climate alarmists. These activists can’t even agree on whether the earth is cooling or warming, and their dire predictions have never materialized.
Recently at the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit, Mr. Newsom railed against major oil companies and their alleged greed. He also plans to visit China this fall to discuss climate change and offer some solutions. What he doesn’t realize is that attempting to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party on energy issues is like spitting into the wind.
Communist leaders will promise to pursue alternative energy sources while they continue to build coal-fired power plants and import colossal amounts of oil. They will also manufacture more batteries for electric vehicles as well as solar panels, while using slave labor to extract minerals from underground. China continues to be the planet’s largest polluter, as I witnessed firsthand on two visits a few years ago.
Perhaps Mr. Newsom has forgotten that manufacturing is carried out most effectively using fossil fuel power. Indeed, the recycling of spent batteries, panels, vehicles, and wind turbines would also be powered by oil products.
Moreover, don’t wind turbines hinder wildlife activity and take up land that could be used for farming? Aren’t climate activists concerned about the disposal of electric vehicle batteries and solar panels that are built with toxic chemicals? Are they unaware that thieves are already stealing the plug-in cables at charging stations?
Both California and the rest of America could be energy independent if common-sense policies were implemented. Why is California importing up to one-third of its energy needs from other regions? It has plenty of land and offshore natural gas and oil reserves to tap, refine and distribute, which could lower fuel costs and maintain a buoyant economy.
Mr. Newsom ought to reactivate the oil leases and encourage the clean extraction and refining of California’s fossil fuels. Realistically, clean natural gas and petroleum products will be needed to power the economy well into the future. While it’s fine to make use of hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, synfuels, and wind power, none of these sources can power just about anything the way that fossil fuels can.
While it’s important to keep the environment healthy, climate change hysteria goes way overboard in pushing for a minimalist lifestyle for everyone despite the progress of the last century. In addition, key players in the green movement fail to practice what they preach as they routinely leave mighty carbon footprints in their wake.
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Christian Milord

Christian Milord

Author

Christian Milord is an Orange County, California-based educator, mentor, USCG veteran, and writer. He earned his M.S. degree from California State University, Fullerton, where he mentors student groups and is involved with literacy programs. His interests include culture, economics, education, domestic and foreign policy, and military issues. He can be reached at cnvmilord@sbcglobal.net

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