July 15, 2024

The state of California intensified its assault on energy derived from fossil fuels as officials announced Saturday that the Golden State is suing oil giants Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP. The suit blames the companies for wildfires, toxic smoke, heat waves, droughts, and the homelessness problem. Actually, I threw in the homeless part since they’re already blaming oil companies for everything else.

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Governor Gavin Newsom flat-out accused them of lying:

“For more than 50 years, Big Oil has been lying to us — covering up the fact that they’ve long known how dangerous the fossil fuels they produce are for our planet,” Newsom said. “California taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for billions of dollars in damages — wildfires wiping out entire communities, toxic smoke clogging our air, deadly heat waves, record-breaking droughts parching our wells.”

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group also named in the lawsuit, blasted the move:

“This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources,” institute senior vice president Ryan Meyers said in a statement.

The suit accuses the companies of creating or contributing to climate change in California, false advertising, damage to natural resources, and unlawful business practices for deceiving the public about climate change.

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California is already the 5th most expensive state for energy, and residents pay by far the highest gas prices in the nation. Although there are a variety of factors at play causing the high gas prices, including a requirement that refineries produce a special cleaner-burning blend of fuel during the summer, even the notoriously liberal Los Angeles Times has to admit that it’s also because Californians are taxed out the wazoo:

California is a high tax state, and that extends to the excise tax slapped on a gallon of gas. The tax, which is adjusted annually, pays for planning, constructing and maintaining roads and mass transit systems.

In June [of 2022], the tax rose from 51.1 cents to 53.9 cents per gallon, second only to Pennsylvania.

The Times wrote the above in 2022; since then, California has taken the title as the state with the highest gas tax at a whopping 77.9 cents per gallon. Adding to the pressure on the average resident, the state passed a law in 2022 that will ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035. This despite the fact that our energy grid is nowhere close to being able to handle that kind of demand.

California’s war on conventional forms of energy is so extreme that the House of Representatives voted 222-190 last week to strike down environmental regulations in California mandating electric vehicle (EV) purchases. Eight Democrats voted for the measure. 

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California’s lawsuit reeks of virtue signaling and will not solve our energy needs. Attorneys on both sides will likely rake in millions while there will be little benefit for the public. Progressives can yell and scream all they want about the evils of fossil fuels, but without them, we’d be sitting in the dark at night and cooking our dinners over the fireplace. 

Sure, it’d be nice if we were magically able to switch to a totally “clean” energy system, but the fact is we’re just not there yet:

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