Should California dictate US energy policies?

Can the rest of America afford its Alice in Wonderland energy policies for? (Can California?)

Guest essay by Paul Driessen

California loves to be seen as the trendsetter on energy and environmental policies. But can we really afford to adopt their laws and regulations in the rest of America? Heck, can the once Golden State afford them itself? The path to hell is paved with good intentions, counter-productive policies – and hypocrisy.

The official national unemployment rate is stuck at 6.7% – but with much higher rates for blacks and Hispanics and a labor p labor participation rate that remains the lowest in 35 years. Measured by gross national product, our economy is growing at an abysmal 1.5% or even 1.0% annual rate.

Meanwhile, California’s jobless rate is higher than in all but three other states: 8.1% – and with far worse rates as high as 15% for blacks, Hispanics and inland communities. First the good news, then the insanity.

Citigroup’s Energy 2020: North America report estimates that the United States, Canada and Mexico could make North America almost energy independent in six years, simply by tapping their vast recoverable oil and natural gas reserves. Doing so would help lower energy and consumer prices, insulate the three nations from volatile or blackmailing foreign suppliers, and spur job creation based on reliable, affordable energy, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Driving this revolution is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. According to Citigroup, IHS Global Insights, the EIA and other analysts, “fracking” technology contributed 2.1 million jobs and $285 billion to the US economy in 2013, while adding $62 billion to local, state and federal treasuries! Compare that to mandates and subsidies required for expensive, unreliable, job-killing wind, solar and biofuel energy.

Fracking also slashed America’s oil imports from 60% of its total needs in 2005 to just 28% in 2013. It slashed our import bill by some $100 billion annually.

By 2020 the government share of this boom is expected to rise to $111 billion. By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could inject over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while contributing $300 billion a year to GDP and generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues. What incredible benefits! But there’s more.

A Yale University study calculates that the drop in natural gas prices (from $8 per thousand cubic feet of million Btu in 2008, and much more on the spot market, to $4.00 or so now) is saving businesses and families over $125 billion a year in heating, electricity, fertilizer and raw material feed stock costs.

The only thing standing in the way of a US employment boom and economic and industrial renaissance, says Citigroup, is politics: continued or even more oppressive anti-hydrocarbon policies and regulations.

Here’s the insanity. Fully 96% of this nation’s oil and gas production increase took place on state and private lands. Production fell significantly on federal lands under President Obama’s watch, with the Interior Department leasing only 2% of federal offshore lands and 6% of its onshore domain for petroleum, then slow-walking drilling permits, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

The President continues to stall on the Keystone pipeline, while threatening layers of expensive carbon dioxide and other regulations, to prevent what he insists is “dangerous manmade climate change.” His EPA just adopted California’s expensive all-pain-no-gain rules for sulfur in gasoline, and the Administration and environmentalists constantly look to the West Coast for policy guidance.

Governor Jerry Brown says 30 million vehicles in California translate into “a lot of oil” and “the time for no more oil drilling” will be when its residents “can get around without using any gasoline.” However, that rational message has not reached the state’s legislators, environmental activists or urban elites.

California’s ruling classes strongly oppose drilling and fracking – and leading Democrats are campaigning hard to impose at least a long temporary ban, based on ludicrous claims that fracking causes groundwater contamination and even earthquakes and birth defects.

Meanwhile, California’s oil production represents just 38% of its needs – and is falling steadily, even though the state has enormous onshore and offshore natural gas deposits, accessible via conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies. The state imports 12% of its oil from Alaska and 50% more from foreign nations, much of it from Canada, notes Sacramento area energy consultant Tom Tanton.

The record is far worse when it comes to electricity. The Do-As-I-Say state imports about 29% of its total electricity from out of state: via the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Phoenix, coal-fired generators in the Four Corners area, and hydroelectric dams in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, Tanton explains.

Another 50% of its electricity is generated using natural gas that is also imported from sources outside California. Instead, the Greener-Than-Thou State relies heavily on gas imported via pipelines from Canada, the Rockies and the American Southwest, to power its gas-fired turbines. Those turbines and out-of-state sources also back up its numerous unreliable bird-killing wind turbines.

It adds up to a great way to preen and strut about their environmental consciousness. They simply leach off their neighbors for 62% of their gasoline and 79% of their electricity, and let other states do the hard work and emit the CO2.

These foreign fuels power the state’s profitable and liberal Silicon Valley and entertainment industries – as well as the heavily subsidized electric and hybrid vehicles that wealthy elites so love for their pseudo-ecological benefits, $7,500 tax credits, and automatic entry into fast-moving HOV lanes.

Meanwhile, California’s poor white, black, Hispanic and other families get to pay $4.23 per gallon for regular gasoline, the second highest price in America – and 16.2 cents per kWh for residential electricity, double that in most states, and behind only New York, New England, Alaska and Hawaii.

However, the state’s eco-centric ruling classes are not yet satisfied. Having already hammered large industrial facilities with costly carbon dioxide cap-and-trade regulations, thereby driving more jobs out of the state, on January 1, 2015 they will impose cap-and-trade rules on gasoline and diesel fuels. That will instantly add at least 12 cents more per gallon, with the price escalating over the coming years.

Regulators are also ginning up tough new “low-carbon fuel standards,” requiring that California’s transportation fuels reduce their “carbon intensity” or “life-cycle” CO2 emissions by 10% below 2010 levels. This will be accomplished by forcing refiners and retailers to provide more corn-based ethanol, biodiesel and still-nonexistent cellulosic biofuel.

These fuels are much more expensive than even cap-tax-and-trade gasoline – which means the poor families that liberals care so deeply about will be forced to pay still more to drive their cars and trucks.

In fact, Charles River Associates estimates that the LCFS will raise the cost of gasoline and diesel by up to 170% (!) over the next ten years, on top of all the other price hikes.

In the meantime, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany and a hundred other countries are burning more coal, driving more cars and emitting vastly more carbon dioxide. So the alleged benefits to global atmospheric CO2 levels range from illusory and fabricated to fraudulent.

Of course, commuters who cannot afford these soaring prices can always park their cars and add a few hours to their daily treks, by taking multiple buses to work, school and other activities.

There’s more, naturally. Much more. But I’m out of space and floundering amid all the lunacy.

Can we really afford to inflict California’s insane policies on the rest of America? In fact, how long can the Left Coast afford to let its ruling classes inflict those policies on its own citizens?


 

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

58 thoughts on “Should California dictate US energy policies?

  1. The sad thing is, despite the apparent lunacy of their policies, the liberal idealists have the upper hand on the political scene. They will continue to dominate politics as long as their socialist policies continue to appeal to the voters.

  2. Once a person or congregation diverge on a singular pathway to la la land, expect more crazy. Follow at your peril mice – beware the Pied Piper! :)

  3. Gradually cutting them off from outside deliveries of energy would force them to face their self-inflicted problems. But then their dysfunctional market offers particular profits.

  4. I have a solution A friend of mine from Utah says we ought to re-subdivide the North American continent into three new countries using north south dividing lines. I used to think he was just silly but I am coming around. The new countries would consist of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California on the west with designated “International” travel corridors to the seaports. The second country would consist of everything east of the Mississippi and straight north to Lacrosse, then over to Green Bay, then up the middle of Lake Michigan, then over to Sudbery and North Bay, then straight north up to the Ontario-Quebec border to James Bay. I suspect Maine and our Maritime provinces might want to stick with the “Central” country, as they have values more attuned to the part west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada. Again, transportation corridors to the east would be a necessity for the Central country although it would have ocean access to the Arctic and Caribbean. This way, the west and east coasters can pass all the restrictive legislation they want, driving workers into the Central plains where we need people to support our economy and there is a fair bit of land that could be developed with good stewardship.

    Never happen, but it makes for a great conversation late at night after taking care of our horses after a 50 mile endurance ride. ;-D

    Big benefit for a lot of us Canadians since we would no longer need passports and export papers for our horses when we come south; and no restrictions on bringing goods back and forth. My friend was coming from Alaska last year and he had vegetables and fruit in his motorhome which he bought before leaving Alaska. When he got to the US border, they confiscated it as contraband since he had been in Canada a couple of days.

    Who says it’s just California that has issues? We all do.

    Just pulling a few chains. Off to the mountains to slide on some snow.

    Have a great day.

  5. California has among the highest rates in unemployment and welfare. It’s high energy prices have driven out all the big server farms and destroying manufacturing. It pours freshwater down a river to help a saltwater fish (yes, it’s crazy), while farmers give up and vegetable and fruit prices rise.

    Sure, follow California, all you other states… our whole nation will look like Detroit in less than a generation. We’ll be a great object lesson for the rest of the world.

  6. In the meantime, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany and a hundred other countries are burning more coal, driving more cars and emitting vastly more carbon dioxide. So the alleged benefits to global atmospheric CO2 levels range from illusory and fabricated to fraudulent.

    Bingo! On a global scale man’s co2 output continues its upward trajectory, no matter what California or USA does. There are billions of people in the developing world who want cars, electricity etc.

  7. I think sending our manufacturing jobs overseas did more for reducing oil imports than fraking has. But fraking has done far more than Big Solar and Big Wind to keep the lights on. Back to California – according to a recent poll 66% of them think they’re over-taxed. What ever they’re doing there isn’t working if the objective is voter satisfaction, but that is certainly not the objective.

    Following Putin’s lead in Ukraine I’d not be surprised if in another 10 years Mexico doesn’t annex SoCal on the same basis – to protect the majority ethnic Mexicans living in California from tyranny of the few. And I expect the EU and the UN will support it.

  8. Mr. Dreisson, I agree that California’s energy policies make no sense. And their renewables push will likely lead to rolling blackouts by about 2015 owing to lack of grid storage, since they are even too foolish to start construction the Eagle Crest pumped storage project that got federal approval back in 2009.
    But do not rely on the Citigroup report concerning oil, or the Maugeri report from Harvard. They are both fatally factually flawed concerning technically recoverable reserves (at any price) and about fracked shale decline curves and recovery factors. Around 2020, we will be relying on 30% imported oil rather than the 60% it was or the 50% (or so) it now is. And then imports of petroleum will have to start going up again because of Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Barnett peak production from fracking in that time frame at current drilling rates.

    And do not rely on horizontal drilling and fracking of California’s Monetery shale any time soon, which is about half of the US total TRR for oil (most gas shales are not in California, thank goodness). It is so folded and faulted that there are no long ‘horizontal’ stringers to be drilled. Vertical fracking doesn’t intersect enough pay to be economic even if the price of oil were to double or triple by 2020.(IMF is projecting double, plus emergence of true scarcity, due to global production peaking including unconventional Venezuela’s tar and Canada’s bitumen sands.)
    The insanity in California is opposing something that for most of their shale deposits cannot be practically done anyway for geophysical reasons. Please read what the oil companies themselves say-Getty and Chevron would be good places to start as they both are very active in California.

  9. “The only thing standing in the way of a US employment boom and economic and industrial renaissance, says Citigroup, is politics: continued or even more oppressive anti-hydrocarbon policies and regulations.”

    So, Citigroup is the only major financial institution not salivating over cap and trade? Did they get cut out of it in California?

    California’s energy policy makes perfect sense if one follows the money. Who benefits? Natural gas producers, the biggest, and just for one. Also, oil producers in California who would not benefit from fracking. Basic business principles of supply and demand and profit.

  10. “California’s ruling classes strongly oppose drilling and fracking – and leading Democrats are campaigning hard to impose at least a long temporary ban, based on ludicrous claims that fracking causes groundwater contamination and even EARTHQUAKES and birth defects.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-07/oklahoma-swamped-by-surge-in-earthquakes-near-fracking.html

    http://earthquaketrack.com/p/united-states/oklahoma/recent

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/12/earthquake-oklahoma/7649531/

  11. As I recall, Guv Brown’s goal is for 25% emission free power at some point down the road, perhaps by 2025, or something. He never says whether he means power generated in California or power consumed in California, which in his state’s case makes a big difference. Knowing weasel
    Brown we have to assume he means generated in state or he simply doesn’t know (more likely).
    Here in sunny, smogfree South Carolina, the 8 months of electricity production last reported indicated 57% nuclear power. As of today, two new nucler plants are being constructed and will go online within the next 30 months, and that will increase the percentage of nuclear generated electricity to a little over 75%. And there will be two more nuclear reactors down the road, probably built by Duke Power. That would increase the percentage of emission free power to over 90%.
    Electric rates will not increase and no public taxes have been used in building any of these new reactors, all of which are expected to last over 70 years. Compared to South Carolina, California is using Stone Age technology, is raping their residents and is receiving Federal welfare from the rest of the country. What are the odds we can persuade California to secede?

  12. “Regulators are also ginning up tough new “low-carbon fuel standards,” requiring that California’s transportation fuels reduce their “carbon intensity” or “life-cycle” CO2 emissions by 10% below 2010 levels. This will be accomplished by forcing refiners and retailers to provide more corn-based ethanol, biodiesel and still-nonexistent cellulosic biofuel.”

    Or by not changing conduct at all and buying carbon offsets instead.

    “Hippies” did scheme up that one.

  13. Tagerbaek says:
    April 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Go hippies: turn your golden state into a golden shower. See what happens.

    ========================================================================
    A problem is that the CA EPA studies are often quoted as a valid scientific source. But their studies often quote “one study wonders” or other questionable studies which couldn’t stand on their own. Then the CA EPA is quoted. etc. etc.
    (How much lead actually leaches from a brass fixture? Guess where “lead-free brass” came from.)

  14. Gunga Din says:
    April 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm
    ========================================
    (Messed up the blockquote. Sorry.)

  15. Some have made the claim that as an existing technology begins to reach its limit there is a replacement in view or dimly viewed. As an example consider person power and walking, to horse power and riding, to gas and electric engines for power and transportation. Another: yelling across the back yard (they got bigger and people moved), to an operator saying number please, to simply speaking into the air and say call my shaman/pharmacist.
    The federal and California politicians and other green loonies have plunked themselves into the midst of the processes of innovation, substitutions, and alternatives. Mostly their preferred solutions are a waste of money and time, and cause distortions. Being a wealthy country we will likely survive and then move on to one of the now obscure futures.

  16. At one time California was a great state, then the crazy left took over. California has become a horrible state that in in debt, mismanaged, over taxed, and driving businesses away through excessive taxes and excessive expensive regulations.

  17. Paul, you are thinking like a normal person, not a politician.

    You have to realize that the government never runs out of money. When they need more they raise taxes. If they can’t raise taxes they raise fees. If they can’t do that they borrow money. When that runs out they just print more.

    Talking about fiscal responsibility to a politician is like talking about sobriety to an alcoholic.

  18. SMC says:
    April 27, 2014 at 11:21 am
    The sad thing is, despite the apparent lunacy of their policies, the liberal idealists have the upper hand on the political scene. They will continue to dominate politics as long as their socialist policies continue to appeal to the voters.

    SMC,
    Exactly right.
    Mac

  19. As a CA resident, I can attest that the Progressive energy policy out here is insane. Electricity prices are very high and going up at a high rate. Electricity reliability is on the verge of collapse, we will undoubtedly face brown/outs and rolling blackouts this summer if it does get significantly warm this summer. With the progressives and the progressive controlled EPA planning on instituting CCS technology, it will drive up carbon based energy another 80% over the already needlessly high rates in effect now.
    Also, natural gas will not be cheap much longer if the war on coal is not stopped. With coal use down, demand for natural gas will go sky high, and with cheap coal competition out of the way, the price will escalate rapidly as well. This is the plan of the progressives… to make carbon based fuel so expensive, that the ridiculously high cost of windmill and solar generation will look cheap in comparison. The end result will be energy poverty, a weak economy, no middle class and much misery. Of course they will blame it on the oil and coal companies and other large businesses for being greedy and much of the population will buy into to it.
    This is what the future holds if people continue to vote Progressives/Dems into office.

  20. They will continue to dominate politics as long as their socialist policies continue to appeal to the voters.

    We have moral socialists and economic socialists. The public prefers economic socialism over moral socialism.

  21. SMC and Mac,

    I think the Republicans need two things:

    1) Better candidates. For example, having a candidate that compares his campaign to an etch a sketch does exactly generate enthusiasm.

    2) Better ground game. Republicans believe “our guys just show up”. But even having 2% of your votes miss voting for whatever reason can change an election.

  22. Dr Mark says:
    April 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    So fracking releases plate stress reducing the chances of a larger earthquake? Explain again how this is bad?

  23. The California Model is not sustainable. It’s time for the other states to stop being enablers.

  24. Green ideology can bring a nation down! Spain is a good example…. just one of many. California sounds much like Tasmania in Oz. The State was going to show how it was done the green way. It boasts the highest unemployment and is subsidized by others in the nation.

  25. “Citigroup’s Energy 2020: North America report estimates that the United States, Canada and Mexico could make North America almost energy independent in six years, simply by tapping their vast recoverable oil and natural gas reserves. Doing so would help lower energy and consumer prices, insulate the three nations from volatile or blackmailing foreign suppliers, and spur job creation based on reliable, affordable energy, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

    There is no doubt that the politics in the US has kept us dependent on unfriendly countries in the middle east and Venezuela for our energy. The left, with their environmental agenda, clearly hurts the economic growth of the USA, the policy contributes to high unemployment and causes increased energy cost.

    I would not believe the quoted claims from the IMF that we will soon be seeing peak production and our dependence on imported energy will rise again. This will only happen if our government finds a way to shut down oil and gas production and every indication is that they are trying with canards like the prairie chicken and phony CO2 emission limits. I don’t know the basis for the claim of oil sands peaking in Alberta since that is inconsistent with the potential up there. Private companies know better and they are fighting idiots in Washington to get permission to build a pipeline
    Venezuela’s production is declining because of the government policy there, many of their talented have left the country with the political climate and foreign companies have been driven off.

    The left has been claiming that the oil sands and fracking will never produce the oil and gas already produced for over a decade now. Look at the data which shows how wrong they have been.
    Major chemical companies have resumed building plants in the US because of the plentiful availability of cheap natural gas to feed their plants. Look at the trade journals and explain a peak in 2020 when these plants are coming on line. Several years ago they announced that they would never build another plant in the US, fracking has changed everything!

  26. I have had a theory about California for some time. I think that California should be separated from the rest of the USA. The power lines from outside the state should be severed and the oil wells in downtown LA should be turned off etc.

    Basically, we need someone to lead the world into the Green beyond. If we could make it possible for California to lead the charge and set an example then I would be all in favour. Then, in a few years, when California has sorted out all the bugs with the new green living we could all follow suit.

    What is not to like? Californians seem to be the most inclined to believe in the green lifestyle (our host may disagree!) It would be a good test and an example to the rest of the world.

  27. “Go hippies: turn your golden state into a golden shower. See what happens.”

    What happens is that, after they destroy California, they move to other states which still have viable economies, and vote for the same policies all over again.

    You don’t have long to build a wall around the state, if you want to keep them there.

  28. “Can the rest of America afford its Alice in Wonderland energy policies for?”

    Byline written by a drunken Yoda, or perhaps Ian Bach.

  29. What is not to like? Californians seem to be the most inclined to believe in the green lifestyle

    Having spent some time on Cali highways, I would beg to seriously differ.

  30. California is in many ways a microcosm of America’s geographic, demographic, economic, and socioeconomic diversity.

    It would be a highly useful experiment in renewable energy economics and in related socioeconomic impacts to use California as a laboratory for seeing just how far and how fast a near complete conversion to renewable energy resources could be accomplished.

    The most effective approach by far in pursuing this experiment would be for California to impose a system of steep, direct taxes on all forms of energy production and consumption which rely either directly or indirectly upon fossil fuels, whether produced inside the state or outside its borders.

    Let’s assume that the experiment is planned to run for two decades. After a decade or so, the intermediate results of the experiment would be evaluated to see just what kinds of lessons the exercise had for other states which might be considering a similar approach in promoting the renewables.

    Most Californians see themselves as being highly idealistic and progressive. Certainly they would embrace this golden opportunity to become enthusiastic pathfinders in leading the nation towards a renewable energy future. (wouldn’t they?)

  31. Does this statement bring some clarity as to why we have unrest in countries who depend on these funds to live comfortably?

    Think about it.

    “Fracking also slashed America’s oil imports from 60% of its total needs in 2005 to just 28% in 2013. It slashed our import bill by some $100 billion annually. ”

    Think about it…. GDP wise for the recipients of such funds.

    I do think california has done us some good. They are making us more efficient. Let alone the disasterous socialist part.

    Just sayin….. it is in the observational data…….

  32. The only thing California is the trendsetter on is lunacy and treason. America should secede from California, and sell it back to Spain.

  33. I live in New Zealand and have a house in California. Just received my bill from PG&E and it’s got a “Climate Credit” added which reduced my bill to zero and left enough credit for the next few months credits!!!
    Very nice. Apparently my share of the carbon tax they put on major ‘polluters’. Can you believe that?

  34. M Simon says:
    April 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Dr Mark says:
    April 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    “So fracking releases plate stress reducing the chances of a larger earthquake? Explain again how this is bad?”
    If shit is knocked of your shelves every day or your house is f@#%ed up near OKC it is not that good….
    I didn’t say it was bad either….but it does seem to be related to fracking which is what was denied in the above post.
    Regards
    Mark

  35. As a former lifetime inmate of California ( “The Land of Fruits and Nuts”) I can comment on it with some authority. (I’ve since escaped to Florida… and love it…)

    First off, “we” already had rolling blackouts. Remember Gov. Gray “out” Davis? Last time Dems set the energy policy for electricity, I ended up owning 2 electric generators. Once Gray was dumped, power stabilized. Looks like time for another turn on the lunacy wheel.

    Second: The price quoted for electricity is low. That’s the BOTTOM tier. Prices rise from there and can reach nearly $1 / kWhr in the inland valley when A/C use is highest (i.e. most needed). It’s crazy enough that it was worth it for me to cook on the back patio with a (3rd world) kerosene stove rather than use my All Electric Kitchen.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/butterfly-2487-16-wick-stove/

    Even figured out it was cheaper to heat the house with a Coleman Lantern:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/coleman-lantern-heat-cheaper/

    Decided to leave the State instead of practicing my 3rd World Skills…

    FWIW, any decent Diesel generator (small one) makes power at about 1/10 the price of fuel / kWhr as a rough rule of thumb, using $ and gallons. So if Diesel is $4/ gallon ( or 400 cents) then it is about 40 cents / kWhr to make your own. The California PUC was looking at tariff rates of 50 cents to $1 (nearly) and I decided to look at what kinds of things that might lead folks to do:
    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/strange-how-economics-works/ when the commissar sets bread too cheap and corn too expensive, folks start feeding bread to pigs… or making power with a backyard Diesel…

    Oh, and you left out that Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown wants to put the Sacramento River into a $10 Billion hole in the ground. (Voters turned down a “Peripheral Canal” to feed N. Cal water to L.A., so he want’s a tunnel instead…). Plans match his $10 Billion “train to nowhere” project. If you spend enough money, people will get rich…. well, that’s the attitude anyway. They are building the train in the Central Valley (where few people live to use it) as that is easier than building it in the highly populated cities it “connects”, since that’s hard… Sigh…

    Then there’s the California employees retirement fund suing a bankrupt city:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/entitlement-death-spiral-begins-in-california/

    You just can’t make stuff up that’s this good.

  36. The true unemployment numbers are much higher if it was calculated the same way it was in the1930 it would be higher than the great depressoin.

  37. Perhaps we miss the message?
    The wealthy Elites of every age have striven to remove the poor from their playgrounds.
    How better to drive the poor from California, than excessive costs and taxes?
    As the Useless Nutjobs keep reminding us from their perch beside the East River,” You only exist to serve our agenda”.
    As they continually address themselves to redistributing our wealth.
    The California Kleptocracy is just a little more open, about their place for the working people, peon being almost a native word there.

  38. From the chiefio link posted just above:
    “[San Bernardino City] is bankrupt. (As is Stockton, Vallejo, Mammoth Lakes, and more in the wings…)”

    “bankrupt” is an euphemism for “not a nice place to visit”.
    What is the official unemployment rate in those cities? What is the crime rate? the poverty rate?
    Does anyone have any estimates about the black market economy, specifically in drugs?
    The hippie dream has become everyone’s nightmare. Utopia on the outside, dystopia on the inside.

  39. $4.23 a gallon for gasoline!! Unbelievable!!

    Come try Europe: you’ll be lucky to see a dollar’s change from $10 a gallon.

  40. The Kalifornia smug clouds are spreading like a cancer, fueled by stupidity, political pandering to the greenie Cause, lust for power, and pure greed. If the Republicans don’t step up to the plate fast, Smugaddon can’t be far behind.

  41. It’s been stated from foreign viewpoints that the US is dictated to by California, New York & Massachusetts w/a few other socialist states supporting them. Maybe we should “encourage” those states to secede & form their own little Marxist nation and let the others alone.

  42. beng says:
    April 28, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Amen. When I lived in Richmond, I couldn’t believe how radically different northern VA/suburban DC politics were. Like a whole nuther state.

  43. E.M.Smith says:
    April 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    First off, “we” already had rolling blackouts. Remember Gov. Gray “out” Davis? Last time Dems set the energy policy for electricity, I ended up owning 2 electric generators. Once Gray was dumped, power stabilized. Looks like time for another turn on the lunacy wheel.

    Once again, E.M. Smith gets it completely wrong.

    I believe this makes about the third time I’ve had to call BS on Mr. Smith’s erroneous assertion that the California energy crisis was due to Gray Davis, so there is no excuse for Mr. Smith to continue making his false accusations against Mr. Davis.

    In-depth investigation shows how Vice President Dick Cheney pressured federal energy regulators to conceal evidence of widespread market manipulation by energy companies during the California electricity crisis in 2001.

  44. Where to begin to rebut this nonsense!

    Mr. Driessen is apparently against anyone importing anything from anywhere…so, is it required then that every state drill and refine its own oil? Texas, and Louisiana, export refined oil products to many states that lack those. Is it OK for other states to import their gasoline, but not ok for California to import oil? Are other states wrong to let Texas and Louisiana produce the CO2 from refining?

    Regarding the wind, that Mr. Driessen objects to for creating emission-free energy: in California, which is by no means the state with the most installed wind-turbine capacity, approximately 3 to 3.6 GW of energy is produced on a good day. That allows California utilities to NOT BURN the equivalent in natural gas, as those power plants are backed down a bit to keep the grid balanced. That fuel not burned helps to keep natural gas prices low. Funny thing, Driessen did not mention that.

    Driessen also did not mention that California, by law, will cease importing coal-based electric power as soon as the existing purchase contracts expire. At this moment, replacement power plants that use natural gas in Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants are being designed and built. Additional renewable energy sources are also being built, especially solar and wind projects.

    In addition, because California has appropriate geography (plains and mountains), we are building yet another pumped storage hydroelectric project to store wind-energy produced at night, then release the power during the next day or so when it is needed the most. Not every state has the proper geography for that, but as California has it, we are using it.

    As to importing oil from Alaska, yes, that oil will be refined somewhere, so why not California? Alaska certainly has a surplus of oil and a deficit in gasoline demand. Where would Driessen rather see that oil refined? China? India? For his information, ANS (Alaska North Slope oil in the industry jargon) is also imported into refineries in Washington State. Is Washington also to be castigated for doing this, or is only California wrong for doing so?

    Finally, the entire concept of drilling and producing domestic oil is a recipe for disaster. I agree that a reasonable amount should be drilled and produced, but only enough to ensure a viable oil industry. As I wrote on, and give speeches on, US Energy Policy must not waste our most precious domestic resource: oil in the ground. A part of that speech is shown as:

    . . .the absolutely most important point is that we must take the long view and not be short-sighted. It is critical that the US be prepared for that day when we will desperately need our domestic oil. That day when our foreign supplies are cut off yet again, and this time we are in a prolonged world war, similar to World War II. To meet that day, we must have oil in our own lands. Every president since Truman has known this to be true, and therefore have made so much of the USA offshore off-limits to drilling. The West Coast, East Coast, and eastern Gulf of Mexico are off-limits to drilling. Much of the on-shore lands are also off-limits, including the ANWR. We know the oil is there. We don’t need that oil right now. Preserving that oil for the future is critical, and that is why Drill, Baby, Drill is Dumb, Baby, Dumb. (as an aside, this phrase drew spontaneous applause, much to my great surprise. – RES)

    Next we must maintain a vital oil industry. It is critical that the US maintain the ability to drill, produce, refine, and transport oil and oil products to meet that dreaded day. We must attract and retain highly qualified and motivated personnel in the entire oil industry.

    Next, we must develop 1 million barrels per day of Coal-to Liquids production using our domestic coal reserves. The Canadians have done something similar with their oil sands, even though they lost money for the first few decades. They went up the learning curve, reduced their operating costs and now are somewhat profitable. We must do the same with our coal.”

    see the entire speech with presentation slides at

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/speech-on-peak-oil-and-us-energy-policy.html

  45. Of course, commuters who cannot afford these soaring prices can always park their cars and add a few hours to their daily treks, by taking multiple buses to work, school and other activities.
    =============
    that is how politicians solve traffic jams. make it too expensive for everyone else to drive, so they can cruise around in their air-con stretch limo’s.

  46. That’s not the half of it. Complying with California regulations is a huge problem for manufacturers. Everyone’s seen a Prop 65 label: “This product contains substances known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm.” Note that the state doesn’t provide any other information, it is just a scary statement with no specifics to let people make a decision. The labels don’t even say what the substance is or what part of the product it is in!

    That’s just one example. There are countless regulations and regulatory agents enforcing them. Most state have fairly small pesticide control boards – California has dozens of legal staff as well as many, many other bureaucrats. Manufacturers doing business with California have an entirely new level of annoyance to deal with, which acts as a tax on businesses across the nation.

  47. Roger Sowell –
    Why do we have the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if not to supply our military and vital industries in a crisis? Also, why shouldn’t the oil be extracted and stored securely, rather than left in locations that are difficult to access? Do you really think we should stop extracting resources in the US so we can hold off for a rainy day?

    Also, coal gasification and liquefaction is awesome, and I fully support it. It’s solid, proven technology, though methanol may also be worth consideration. The only problems are that it generates a lot of coal tar waste (visit any of the numerous manufactured gas plant sites in Illinois that are now superfund sites to get an idea of the problem) and the process requires energy / heat in sizable quantities. Where is this energy coming from? Now, using high-temp steam from a nuclear reactor would allow for efficient power generation as well as fuel production, but I notice you are ignoring nuclear power in your energy plan for some reason.

  48. @ omegapaladin,

    The SPR has oil for only a few weeks operation, roughly 10 weeks. That is hardly enough to conduct a long-term war.

    Regarding nuclear power, (one) modern nuclear power plants are uneconomic to operate compared to natural gas and wind energy, (two) they produce preposterous pricing if they are the sole power source for a grid, (three) they cost far too much to construct, (four) use far more water for cooling, 4 times as much, than better alternatives, (five) nuclear fuel makes them difficult to shut down and requires very costly safeguards, (six) they are built to huge scale of 1,000 to 1,600 MWe or greater to attempt to reduce costs via economy of scale, (seven) an all-nuclear grid will lose customers to self-generation, (eight) smaller and modular nuclear plants have no benefits, (nine) large-scale plants have very long construction schedules even without lawsuits that delay construction, (ten) nuclear plants do not reach 50 or 60 years life because they require costly upgrades after 20 to 30 years that do not always perform as designed, (eleven) France has 85 percent of its electricity produced via nuclear power but it is subsidized, is still almost twice as expensive as prices in the US, and is only viable due to exporting power at night rather than throttling back the plants during low demand, (twelve) nuclear plants cannot provide cheap power on small islands, and (13) they are heavily subsidized in the US and still cannot compete. See link at

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-13.html

  49. Sowell,

    Do you by chance work for T. Boone Pickens or a similar supplier of natural gas? The particular combination of gas and wind was something he was very notable for.

    (1) Natural gas is cheap to build, but any price increase will hurt the facilities. It’s why we saw gas turbines relegated to peaking work on the grid, while hydro, coal, and nuclear carried the base load. Until fracking took off, there were lots of idle gas turbines. Wind is cheap, but it’s got a laughable capacity factor. Wind also has a tiny energy density.

    (2) Nuclear is baseload power currently. It’s designed to run continuously. No one, not even the Nuclear Energy Institute, wants to completely eliminate non-nuclear energy sources. Natural gas is actually the perfect balance to nuclear, as it can very easily be activated and deactivated as needed, reducing gas usage and keeping the cost down.

    (3) Nuclear is not cheap to build, obviously. Neither were the TVA hydropower dams, but they both provide cheap and reliable power, with very high capacity factors. The cost is front-loaded, as opposed to split over the course of the plant’s life. The new small modular reactors aim to change that.

    (4) There are new reactor designs that use a closed-cycle gas turbine, such as the pebble-bed modular reactor, which minimize the need for cooling water. Also, process steam in PWRs can be used for desalination of ocean water.

    5) Reprocess the fuel, and you can extract useful radionuclides and reuse the fuel. The reason we have no permanent fuel solution is political, not an engineering issue. Also, nuclear fuel is replaced during regular outage shutdowns, which go on ALL the time. Decommissioning a reactor is not a problem of the fuel, which requires storage or processing, but the actual reactor vessel itself. You do know that reactors have been decommissioned in the US before, correct?

    6) Why is large scale a problem?

    7) See two. Unless we get some much superior gas turbine reactors, no one wants an all nuclear grid.

    8) That’s a fairly bold statement. Where is your evidence?

    9) Lawsuits from people such as yourself, perhaps? Do you think refineries and steel mills are built overnight?

    10) I suppose gas turbine blades last forever?

    11) You don’t seem to get that nuclear plants are base load power – they are designed for always-on operation. It’s a different operating mode from natural gas.

    12) See 2 and 7. Why must only one power source be used on the grid?

    13) Why are corporations building them, then?

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