California Should Be More Like North Dakota
I’ve often chastised our political leadership here in North Dakota for taking too much credit for the oil boom. The technological advances, and the market conditions, which allowed for the oil boom to happen and set this state’s economy on fire are not the result of any political platform or set of policies.
That being said, and in light of what’s going on in California, perhaps we should be sure to give our politicians plenty of credit for not hamstringing the oil, gas and coal production in the state in favor of green energy pipe dreams:
Nowhere is the element of choice inherent in energy policy more evident than in California, home to five of the nation’s twelve largest oil fields and energy reserves equal to those of Nigeria, the world’s tenth-largest producer. As high-paying energy jobs swell payrolls in the Great Plains, the Intermountain West and parts of the Gulf, the Golden State has double-digit unemployment, a collapsed inland economy and a series of bankrupt municipalities. Amidst a great national energy boom, California’s energy production has remained stunted even as the state’s draconian “renewable” energy mandates are slated to drive up its already high electricity rates. The state’s high cost of energy has impacted industry: despite its vast human and natural resources, the Golden State, with 12 percent of the nation’s population received barely 2 percent of the country’s manufacturing expansions last year.
Such inattention to California’s resources may be popular in wealthy precincts of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and west Los Angeles, but the state’s green approach has helped place traditionally manufacturing-oriented communities such as Oakland, east Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Stockton in deep distress. Despite central California’s vast deposits of oil and gas, unemployment rates in some oil-rich areas there are over 15 and sometimes even 20 percent.
As economic forecaster Bill Watkins recently told an audience in hard-hit Santa Maria: “If you were in Texas, you’d be rich.”
The problem with California is that the government is managing the energy industry. It was government management of energy that led to the infamous “rolling blackouts” in the state in the last decade, and it’s government that is trying to shove expensive, unreliable “green” energy into the market even as the potential for a North Dakota or Texas-style energy boom lurks just underneath the ground.
This is what happens when politicians think they’re smarter than the market.Tags: california, green energy, north dakota