The U.S. is the top oil and natural gas producer in the world, and in five years could be the number one exporter in the world creating millions of jobs, and trillions in economic benefits. Texas is so prolific at exploration and production (E&P) they are the number three producers in the world. After the Iranian attacks on the Saudi oil facilities it was hydraulic fracturing of shale basins in Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico that saved the California, U.S., and global economies from damaging spikes in crude oil rising uncontrollably.

Currently, California energy and electricity policies are in favor of dismantling fossil fuel production in the state, never attempting to unlock the vast reserves in the Monterrey Shale, and rely on chaotically, intermittent solar panels and wind turbines for electricity. These policy choices have caused Californians to pay over $1.50 a gallon more for gasoline and petroleum products than other U.S. states. 

In spite of all this the American economy still added 136,000 jobs in September bringing unemployment to a 5-decade low. The U.S. shale revolution that California is not a part of has remade American and international geopolitics (literally “fracking is changing the world,”) but is also powering the American economy to new heights. There is no good reason California cannot take part in this largess the way New Mexico has a budget surplus thanks to oil and natural gas E&P.

The entire California economy is based on fossil fuels when over 6,000 products come from a barrel of crude oil, and we have an antiquated electrical grid that cannot handle fluctuating electricity that comes from renewables. The land-use calculations alone prove that solar panels and wind turbines are not the future of California unless technological improvements can be made to both forms of energy to electricity. 

Many environmentalists now view renewables – particularly wind turbine farms – as an “attack on rural America.” Surprisingly, “the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban wind turbines in L.A.’s unincorporated areas.”

Trillions are being spent without any measureable benefits. The better solution is view energy policies as an all-of-the-above approach without pitting one form of energy against another. Work on the energy density problems of renewables, and environmental hazards and exploitation of  labor and children from electric vehicles while using oil for products, electricity, and vehicles, nuclear for carbon-free electricity, and flexible, abundant natural gas-powered power plants also for electricity, home use, and in government and public transportation. 

Then private companies can be given incentives and reasons into investing research and development monies into creating a better solar panel, wind turbine, energy battery storage system, and electric vehicle while meeting the requirements of energy that is abundant, reliable, affordable, scalable, and flexible. Who knows the technological breakthroughs that can occur? California with the best research universities in the world could spur the next Apollo space program for the energy sector.

All of these issues and solutions not being pursued have caused California to import large quantities of foreign oil from countries that are egregious human rights abusers, and partakers in environmental degradation. Our Golden State is more dependent on the Saudi’s for our daily lives than American citizens and companies. Governor Newsome said in September, “Saudi Arabia is showing us how dependent we are on foreign oil.” But this doesn’t have to be California’s reality. 

Past Middle Eastern and OPEC history highlights how dependent the U.S. and California were on unstable governments in that part of the world; but since U.S. E&P has doubled to approximately – 12.5 millions barrels a day while adding 6 million barrels to global supply – California should no longer need to import foreign oil. 

Unfortunately, California’s energy policies have left the state vulnerable to terrorist attacks by Iran on Saudi oil facilities when 5.7 million barrels were knocked offline. Oil production in California “has declined about 18% since 2012.” Regulatory costs have also contributed to this deterioration. To make up for this drop – foreign oil tankers that emit more CO2 – are now regularly pulling into California ports.

A proposal to allow the U.S. shale revolution as a funding mechanism for California’s budget should be considered by policymakers. Instead California is beholden to foreign oil and geopolitical turbulence. Add lawsuits that have targeted California refineries, while using public nuisance law by plaintiff attorneys in California, and this causes imports to darken our ports.

Litigation and environmental compliance costs could be better spent with an all-of-the-above approach like New Mexico that works towards limiting emissions, alleviating the homeless issues plaguing California, building world-class infrastructure, and educating the future. Fighting, bickering, and allowing volatile regimes that abuse human rights into the Golden State for a barrel of oil when we can work together – seems like a lose–lose for California.