In episode 2 of our Meet Your Mayor podcast, we sit down with Dave Noerr, mayor of the City of Taft, to hear how his community is handling the pandemic and other issues that arose in 2020
Topics discussed in this episode range from changes due to COVID-19, as well as the impacts of COVID-19 and recent state orders on one of Taft's largest industries: oil.
We also get to hear more about Mayor Noerr and his true Americana upbringing!
Noerr was not born in Taft, but it wasn't too hard for him to settle in.
Growing up in a military family and working for around three decades in the oil industry, Taft was the perfect place for Noerr to put down roots.
He has served as the Mayor of Taft since December 2016. Now as the mayor in 2020, Noerr said he's definitely seeing struggles in his community he never expected.
While Taft has seen its hardships in the last few years, with the closure of Taft Prison and a heavy oil spill in McKittrick, 2020 has been a first. Noerr said on top of the closure of the economy, schools, and churches due to the pandemic, with such a tight-knit community, it's difficult living life in a two-dimensional setting.
Aside from the pandemic, the biggest news to hit Taft in the last few weeks was Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement that he plans to phase out the sale of gas-powered cars in the state by 2035.
Newsom cited the environmental impacts of gas-powered cars on the state as a catalyst for the bill. The governor also said transportation is responsible for more than 50 percent of greenhouse gases in the state.
Noerr said this new plan sounds like it would be devastating for the oil and gas industry, but to him it seems more like a fairy tale.
Whether it's the screen or the battery in your iPhone, your computer, your car, whatever it may be. Case in point, in the State of California, California as recently as 1990 only imported about 4.5% of their oil. The rest of it they either produced right here under the most stringent environmental regulations in the world, or we imported it from Alaska.
Right now, we're importing over 70% of the oil we use in the State of California.
According to the California Energy Commission, California has slipped to 3rd place in highest crude producer in the country, behind Alaska and foreign producers, down 36% since 1990 to 560,000 b/d.
Another struggling industry for the city has been the closure of the Taft Correctional Institution, a federal prison located within the city.
Noerr said the closure has been tough, with prison employees forced to find work elsewhere. But the city is looking for ways to still utilize the facility in some manner that will benefit the local economy and bring back jobs to the City of Taft.