When President Biden Talks Gas Prices These Dayshe doesn’t specifically mention each of us in the Central Valley, but he does make several important points about what we’re seeing on the ground here and throughout California.
Biden correctly tells the American people that the economics of supply and demand determine the price of our transportation fuels. He says the price increases started during COVID because demand dropped for these fuels. He reminds us that the supply and demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel have increased at breakneck speed as we recover and rebuild our economy and that is why he has opened up the Strategic Crude Oil Energy Reserves of our country. And – while making it clear that Russian leader Putin is a tyrant and a war criminal – Biden is also putting issues affecting the world’s energy supply at Putin’s feet.
Wrong and Wrong Policies
Biden is right on all counts except two. And these two points are critical:
First, California’s green initiatives and policies are designed to help the environment, but the truth is that they slow energy production and thwart any attempt at energy independence. Second, the president seems to think that the men and women of oil and gas can just start drilling again to increase production. It’s not true and it’s a cheap political argument.
The real reason we in California are so dependent on foreign oil is precisely because of the flawed and misguided policies of some leaders and their supporters, who claim to speak on behalf of the environment. Simply waving an environmental magic wand while conjuring up well-paying family union jobs is neither possible nor true. When people are allowed to tell lies and spread fear and misinformation, they must be stopped. Leaders who buy into these fears and then impose bans and mandates on oil and gas drilling in the state should also be held accountable.
The truth is that 30% of the oil Californians consume is produced by the women and men of the national oil and gas companies. The rest comes from abroad. We can certainly do more to produce oil and gas domestically, but not under current bans and mandates. Denying approved drilling permits and/or imposing production bans will not solve our energy needs. This will only make us more dependent on foreign oil and gas imports.
Fresno County Supervisor Leadership
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has recently taken a strong leadership role in highlighting home energy production. They took a stand against corrupt foreign oil and gas producers by calling on the women and men of oil and gas to increase domestic oil production. This new county resolution highlights an important truth: tens of thousands of Central Valley workers are providing the necessary gas we need while producing energy under the toughest environmental regulations in the world.
The women and men of oil and gas must be supported and encouraged, not demonized. They are the experts in their fields and adhere to the strictest safety and environmental regulations while ensuring that critical industries, such as agriculture and food processing, continue to move in the United States and in the world. And they can do a lot more to make sure America has more supply if policymakers let them.
Unfortunately, what many refuse to acknowledge are the erroneous claims of groups and leaders who claim to know what is best for the environment. Echoing these environmental claims, Governor Gavin Newsom’s response is to demand less energy from all of us (or just buy Teslas!). The core of his response – universally banning oil and gas production from safe well stimulation and hydraulic fracturing – will not work. And that won’t help our current dependence on oil from outside the United States. Newsom’s ban from April 2021 is being fought in court, but his refusal to recognize the benefits of having a thriving and safely operating power generation industry here at home is heartbreaking at best.
Stand against the tyrants
What California needs are policies rooted in the real world. We need affordable energy produced right here at home. We need to take care of our own while growing our economy.
Because when we are strong, when we encourage production that helps us meet our current energy needs, then we can stand up against tyrants like Putin and we can help the rest of the world find its own energy independence. It’s the American way.
Clint Olivier is a former Fresno City Council member. He is now CEO of the Central Valley Business Federation.