California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came
California, where there are strict caps on the state’s emissions and where some gas stations have gone so far as to install solar panels (although with no actual solar power), is a case study in how seemingly reasonable energy policy — which, at least as the state has stated it, could not even consider any changes — has instead ended up with the gas station gone, the solar panel installed and the cost of the energy in the state growing out of control.
The state’s failure to address the problem has been a big issue in the debate over climate change and has even led to a federal lawsuit. California officials had hoped that the new law called for in the CARA bill, authored by Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Rendon and Republican Senator Kevin de Leon, would address the issue — but it made no sense, they said. The proposed program had to make it up later and was too little and too late.
It is the latest in a string of examples demonstrating how California is more interested in regulating itself than in solving problems affecting its residents.
“To be perfectly frank, it is the only program ever proposed in California that would be worth anything,” said former California Lt. Gov. John Laird, who now serves as a member of the state’s Air Resources Board, whose air board was tasked with examining the law. “There was no way to pay for it, the gas stations that needed to be serviced were so tiny and not worth it, and the solar panels were just plain silly,” he said.
Still, the proposed “Renewable Portfolio Standard,” a $150 tax per megawatt hour of electricity, was to be “backed up with a requirement that 30 percent of the electricity made by new renewable resources be sold at cost to ratepayers,” the state agency that oversees those programs said in a release.
California has historically had trouble with its gas stations, which were supposed to be the state’s primary way of generating electricity. But the state has had to deal with a glut of natural gas, which has increased prices, causing many gas stations to shutter.
That’s one of the reasons the state has proposed a renewable energy program, in hopes of lowering taxes.