Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) believes there is “A Pandemic of Pollution,” corresponding to a U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report he requested from Senate staffers. Carper, and other activist Democrats contend coronavirus, climate change, and air pollution will grow worse as a result of existing EPA rules set during the Obama administration. The Trump EPA was recently derided by Carper and others when they decided to uphold some of these Obama-era rules. California should not follow Senator Carper’s recommendations.

This ideological movement that Senator Carper parrots through less than truthful media sources argues that the air is cleaner now that economic activity has diminished through COVID-19 are the same sources calling for restrictive air pollution regulations. When the truth is – the air isn’t cleaner or dirtier – since the coronavirus pandemic. 

Natural gas-fired electrical plants, which have largely replaced coal-fired plants, have lowered U.S. (and California) emissions, resulting in less emissions and cleaner air. In fact, “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide fell by 2.8% in 2019, slightly below 2017 levels,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

This is because of hydraulic fracturing, which has changed the world and California. Our State now has cleaner air, and our country is less dependent on Middle Eastern dictators or Russian autocrats for fuel. 

Tougher air pollution regulations seem to be Senator Carper’s aim for no other reason than to assuage environmental activists, and elect politicians who agree with their no-growth agenda. Over coronavirus shutdowns, Governor Newsom recently cut $6.1 billion with a projected state budget deficit at $54.3 billion. Add in unfunded liabilities over $1 trillion, and now isn’t the time to add costly regulations.

Beware then the California-led “green de-development movement” that aims to prolong the coronavirus shutdown as a means to push intermittent, unreliable renewables. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change who said

“The climate-fear campaign was an instrument for replacing capitalism (fossil fuels, reliable electricity, and nuclear generated electricity) with a more socialistic, centrally planned economy.”

Rebutting environmental canards, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler argued before Carper’s Senate committee last month how the EPA has approved “400 virus-killing disinfectants,” and issued “18 deregulatory actions last year and is developing 45 more right now, saving businesses billions of dollars in regulatory costs.” Each of these moves are saving cherished California lives.

With out-of-control trillion-dollar deficits, and unemployment at historic highs, levels, this sweeping, multi-faceted approach to growing the economy, recovering jobs, and protecting the environment is exactly what is needed to counter COVID-19 lockdowns.

Only stricter regulations are the aim of environmental activists, and an opportunity to push a zero-growth policy agenda that California does not need. In actuality, suggesting the pandemic contributes to air pollution is a non-sequitur. Attacking EPA guidance announcements set from the previous administration is exploiting COVID-19 to advance extreme climate agendas.

In fact, these same people want to rid the world of fossil fuels and decarbonize are benefiting from the over 6,000 products refined by energy companies from a barrel of crude oil.

The Wall Street Journal exclaimed in late April – “Big Oil to the Coronavirus Rescue.” Fossil fuel companies have done a remarkable job evidenced by ExxonMobil being the leading company synthesizing hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment from hydrocarbons. 

New York State, which led a four-year legal investigation, and subsequent lawsuit, into whether ExxonMobil deceived the public and investors about climate change impact has now turned to the energy company for critical supplies to fight the coronavirus. 

In April, ExxonMobil announced that the company was: “Increasing production of a specialized polypropylene that is used in medical masks and gown, enough to manufacture up to 200 million medical masks or 20 million gown (per month). It is (also) applying its expertise in material science to develop new face shields that utilize a filtration fabric.”

Isopropyl alcohol and polypropylene are derived from natural gas. Without both petrochemicals, personal protection equipment, hand sanitizer and many disinfectants – essential products for fighting the spread of the coronavirus – don’t exist without fossil fuels.

Not be outdone by ExxonMobil, BP offered to “supply 3 million gallons of jet fuel to FedEx Express charter flights and Alaska Airlines free of charge,” for rapid-delivery, personal protective equipment, and other valued products to those most harmed by COVID-19. Chevron-funded Fab Labs will produce “more than 20,000 face shields and masks for hospitals, nursing homes (hardest hit by coronavirus) and first responders.” 

This lab also donated 100,000 surgical masks to California hospitals. Dow Chemical is manufacturing “100,000 face shields in Michigan.” Add to this list Phillips 66, Shell, and Marathon Oil have all responded to the crisis in their communities through increased production of vital goods for front line medical personnel and first responders.

The howls to divest from fossil fuels, and consider climate at all costs seem even more inappropriate when nations and global economies are placed at risk without the vast amount and variety of products derived from oil and natural gas. Political agendas satiate uneducated masses who have little understanding of how their lives are enriched by fossil fuel companies.

In truth, increasing burdensome regulations on fossil fuel companies only hurts working Californians and Americans yearning to provide for their families. Public health and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive but impeding energy companies that are providing much needed support to deal with COVID-19 is short-sighted and counterproductive.

If California environmental activists want to divest from fossil fuels and push for lower emissions no matter the outcome, then are they willing to do away with the products helping the U.S. and world win the fight against the coronavirus? The brightest spot in the American economy the past decade is still our best hope for important commodities to rid the world of the scourge from COVID-19.