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Community Voices: In the pursuit of sustainable energy – The Bakersfield Californian

Community Voices: In the pursuit of sustainable energy – The Bakersfield Californian yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

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Sunny. High around 80F. Winds light and variable..
Clear to partly cloudy. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: November 3, 2023 @ 7:50 am
George Harmer is director of HSE with Californians for Energy and Science.

George Harmer is director of HSE with Californians for Energy and Science.
What unfolds before us are not mere plots of ghost ships moving illegal crude oil, rainforest homicides, and child servitude as one might presume from a captivating Netflix series. Rather, these are disheartening narratives of real-world atrocities. Alarming as it may be, certain elites and some of our leaders have been privy to these harsh realities for years.
Despite their awareness of the tragic consequences stemming from these events, legislation continues to bind us to foreign oil imports from impoverished nations. These very laws obstruct California’s quest for energy independence while inadvertently endorsing the funding of these harrowing truths.
The California Environmental Quality Act and Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) are both designed to protect the environment while minimizing environmental leakage. These frameworks require Sacramento to support sustainable oil production rather than exporting the environmental impacts to countries that do not share our environmental standards.
Over the past five years, I have often pondered why California, with the largest economy in the U.S., clings to foreign oil to fuel our energy needs. Crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Ecuador and other OPEC nations does not comply with CEQA or AB 32. Californians are told we must shut down local oil production, despite the California Air Resources Board attributing less than 1.7% of greenhouse gas emissions in the state to oil production.
Meanwhile, crude delivered by tanker ships to the Ports of LA and Long Beach contributes to this complex being the largest source of pollution and emissions in Southern California.
We are told it’s for the sake of environmental preservation, yet California possesses abundant oil reserves and enforces the world’s most rigorous regulations for producing pristine oil. Paradoxically, during this same five-year span, California has expelled oil production from its borders, channeling billions of dollars to oil-producing nations with scant regard for environmental stewardship or regulatory standards remotely comparable to California’s.
For these nations, their pursuit of wealth and power fosters oppressive regimes that contribute to the tragic loss of lives, often due to ideological and anti-American animosity. With ample reserves at our doorstep and our world-leading production of clean oil, why do we not harness this natural resource to boost our economy, foster job creation, and secure energy independence?
The specter of ghost ships has been looming since the previous administration, which reinstated sanctions and warned against trading with Iran, a policy adhered to as scrupulously as most other laws. Regrettably, as with many regulations, they are often reactions to misconduct, in the hope that a new law will rectify the problem.
However, the lawless persist in their misconduct because they are, by definition, criminals with scant regard for the current administration. They recognize that the U.S. and the world depend on their products, turning a blind eye to advance their liberal agenda and maintain their hold on power. Russia has been methodically channeling oil through Singapore and Iraq since the Biden administration-imposed sanctions in response to the Ukraine invasion. Our administration remains keenly cognizant of the unregulated ship-to-ship oil transfers taking place worldwide, with little heed to safety or environmental consequences. Even in the face of sanctions, Iran continues to peddle its petroleum products unabated.
In the Amazon, murders are committed to ensure that a region teeming with natural riches continues to fund factions indifferent to both life and the environment. During the reign of former Brazilian leader Bolsonaro, indigenous leaders were ruthlessly slain, land was seized, and people were forcibly evicted from their long-established villages.
The Amazon Rainforest has been hailed as the world’s lungs, a treasure we should all cherish. Despite this, Governor Newsom and his left-leaning politicians have persistently endorsed legislation that accelerates deforestation in this vital region. Some may dispute this claim, but with every law that constrains the capacity to locally produce clean and reliable energy, it becomes a harsh reality.
All these actions are undertaken in the name of green energy and environmental justice. However, this is a falsehood, especially when one peers into the depths of child labor in the Congo. Children are coerced into working in hazardous conditions that jeopardize their well-being and the sanctity of their lives. At an age when they should be playing and learning, they find themselves toiling to unearth materials essential for the latest smart gadgets we eagerly seek.
The very companies that vigilantly advocate for inclusivity and self-expression are neglecting to ensure that the products they provide originate from regions with comparable regulations and human rights standards as those in the U.S. Profit margins for shareholders and CEOs invariably take precedence.
If lawmakers and the governor of California persist in making it daunting, if not impossible, to produce goods locally, they will bear the weight of these transgressions against both people and the environment worldwide. For those seeking ethically sourced materials and products, there’s no need to search any further; we can achieve it cleaner and better right here in California, empowering Americans to produce for America.
George Harmer is director of HSE with Californians for Energy and Science.
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