COMMUNITY VOICES: Hard to make sense of Newsom’s energy policies in the real world

By Assemblyman Vince Fong

California is the fifth largest economy in the world, which requires a tremendous amount of energy to keep it running. In recent months, we have seen the consequences of the state’s poor energy decisions and policies that have led to our lights being shut off under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s watch. Now the governor wants to increase our state’s reliance on foreign oil by restricting in-state domestic production by California’s energy producers.

At a time when Californians face an affordability crisis in addition to an energy crisis, we must ensure that Californians have access to affordable and reliable energy. But anyone who understands California’s energy needs knows that any limitations on production in California needs to be supplanted with foreign oil that is shipped long distances overseas.

Our energy needs are so high that California imports almost 60 percent of our oil from foreign countries because we cannot meet current energy needs from our domestic in-state production. In fact, California’s energy needs are so demanding that California’s dependence of foreign oil has tripled in the last 20 years. The consequence of Newsom’s recent actions are forcing California to import even more of our energy from overseas. This makes no sense. California’s energy producers operate responsibly under the strictest environmental standards and regulations in the world.

It is bad policy to send millions of dollars to other countries that do not share our regard for responsible energy production. Newsom’s moratorium policy does not make sense because the result is actually worse for our global environment.

As Gov. Newsom continues to figure out why gas prices are so high in California and how to keep the lights on, we must examine the consequences of the decisions made in Sacramento. It is painfully obvious that the policies coming out of Sacramento, like the gas tax increase and Newsom’s short-sighted attempt to limit California’s energy production, will only contribute to more expensive energy and make us more dependent on unreliable sources.

In recent months, we have seen the need to re-evaluate our state’s energy policies. When our power goes out, the only way to keep things running are back-up power generators, which are powered by oil and natural gas.

On every level, the actions of Gov. Newsom do not make sense for California. We are going in the wrong direction because of a lack of common sense problem solving. I strongly urge California’s governor to stop chasing headlines and actually propose sound energy policies that provide reliable and affordable energy for everyday Californians.

Assemblyman Vince Fong represents California’s 34th Assembly District, which includes parts of Kern County.