Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
As we settle into the fall season, seven months deep into the pandemic and counting, you might be stressed about finding, losing or keeping a job, paying rent or making sure your kids are getting the most out of distance learning.
Out of all the things to worry about in this moment, making sure new gasoline cars will no longer be sold in California by 2035 isn’t likely to be high on your list.
But that’s exactly the action Gov. Gavin Newsom felt was important enough to take last week through an executive order. It’s further evidence that the governor is out of touch with average Californians. And it’s another step toward making a life in the Golden State out of reach for most people.
While it has long been a burden for people living in inland California, the goal of cleaning up the air in our state is a noble one. But the governor’s 15-year deadline is short on practicalities. No matter your feelings about the Trump administration, a letter sent to Newsom this week by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler sums it up well.
“California’s record of rolling blackouts — unprecedented in size and scope — coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today,” Wheeler wrote in the letter.
The order also directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated statewide rail network. Sounds a little bit like the failed high-speed rail system that Newsom earlier this year decided to scale back in the face of cost overruns and bureaucratic incompetence.
The order takes further aim at our important oil and gas industry by asking the Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.
At a time when Newsom should be focusing on strategies to bring stability to working families living outside of coastal California, he is moving the state even closer to the fringes.
The real question is at what point do average Californians pack up their gasoline-powered car and move to a state that doesn’t erect barriers for working families?