BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Wednesday, Governor Newsom announced a decision to gradually phase out of “climate change-causing" vehicles by 2035.
The executive order is a part of a larger goal to reach a carbon-free economy in our state by 2045.
But with Kern County’s economy largely rooted in the petroleum industry, a leader in that field feels that we have not struck oil with this announcement.
“Our mandate is 15 years hence, and I think the issue of cost will substantially be, and may I say this intentionally: in our rearview mirror," said Governor Newsom.
The governor added that in a few years, the pricing from green resources like wind and solar panels will be comparable to gas, with less environmental and health consequences.
"I point to two examples recently: Phillips 66 and Marathon Refineries that are beginning to transition their fuels and their manufacturing facilities. That’s happening in real-time. That’s an extraordinary proof point to the opportunity to transition, create jobs, and do so in a sustainable way.”
But Western States Petroleum Association President, Cathy Reheis-Boyd disagrees with Newsom's arguments on how they will affect the nearly 200,000 people with jobs in California's oil industry.
“These are not just jobs. These are careers. Careers that have allowed people to grow their economic vitality with upward movement, very good wages. Probably one of the very few well-paying manufacturing jobs left. With the promise of a transition to another kind of job, green jobs, what is that? Is that installing solar panels at minimum wage,” said Cathy Reheis-Boyd.
Another argument Newsom makes is the cost of wind going down 50%, while the cost of solar has decreased by 80%.
But Rehieis-Boyd says that the decision to extract an entire industry to avoid extracting oil will have high costs.
She points to UC Berkeley and UC Davis Institution of Transportation studies research when former California governor Jerry Brown had the goal of five million electric vehicles by 2030.
“About 30 million, actually 40 million people in California who drive 36 million cars and trucks and we had a goal of 5 million emission-free vehicles in 2030, well five million and 35 million is a really big gap," said Reheis-Boyd.
She says the study estimated 15 to 24 billion in infrastructure costs, making this order more complicated.
“It’s going to be really important for us to figure out the affordability side because I don’t know about you, but a lot of people are concerned about affordability.”
Kern County's Ryan Alsop took to twitter with the same concerns with Newsom's order:
He says: "No oil or gas?: #kerncounty's general fund would experience a 23.1% loss in total property tax revenue and a 7.4% loss in revenue from all sources. Fire fund would experience a 20.4% loss in total property tax revenue and a 13.0% loss in revenue from all sources."
Reheis-Boyd, further emphasizes that California does not have any pipelines that bring crude oil to our state right now. The oil is locally derived, including in Kern or through a marine tanker.
But according to Reheis- Boyd the batteries that would power energy vehicles would still require the extraction of natural materials from overseas.
“We’re not going to produce crude oil here, and in the interim, we’re going to implement tankers from the very places he doesn’t want to be hostage to? So I don’t get it. I don’t get the logic of some of the things said this morning," said Reheis-Boyd.
The governor announced that this is the first of many executive orders to come regarding climate change.