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Oil rigs in the sunset. (Photo: Thaiview/Shutterstock)

California Energy Commission Kangaroo Court Hearing on CA Gas Prices

Governor’s office and energy commission posed a Junior high school stunt

By Katy Grimes, December 1, 2022 2:55 am

Gov. Newsom has called a special session of the Legislature on December 5 in order to propose a new tax on oil companies to raise the price of gasoline in California – again.

Californians already pay the highest gas taxes in the nation, in addition to many hidden costs thanks to regulations, restrictions and bans on the production of gasoline.

Ahead of the special legislative session next week, the California Energy Commission held a Kangaroo Court hearing Tuesday to discuss the “the high cost of gasoline in California.” The Energy Commission planned to take testimony and public comment about the high cost of gasoline in California, obviously setting the stage for a tax on oil companies that will end up costing drivers much more to fill up a tank of gas.

It was clear Gov. Gavin Newsom was hoping for a political show of the “Big Oil” Companies against the “altruistic” green State of California. But the governor did not get that – the oil companies did not show up.

We are assuming that it was in anticipation of a Kangaroo Court complete with stunts, oil companies opted out of the hearing.

But with the maturity of a 7th grader, Gov. Newsom posted photos and videos of the oil company executives’ empty chairs, complete with expensive professionally engraved name plates at the designated oil company places, showing just how staged by the governor’s office this faux hearing was.

Viewers didn’t buy the governor’s Junior High School level charade: “How much money did you spend etching those nameplates?” a Twitter poster asked. “Couldn’t paper name markers have been just as effective? Who do you know that owns an etching business that you just spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on to etch a name plate for one meeting? You stink of corruption.”

It’s obvious that the energy commission and the Governor’s Office communicated clandestinely well ahead of the hearing to arrange this half-baked media video/photo op.

Gov. Newsom’s video of absent oil companies at CEC hearing. (Photo: https://twitter.com/GavinNewsom/status/1597713328070983681)

The energy commissioners made much too big of a deal out of the lack of participation by the oil company representatives, all using rather similar talking points obviously shared beforehand.

Despite the charade, and despite the governor hoping for a political show, there was a decent discussion of the actual issues according to Kevin Slagle of the Western States Petroleum Association. He noted that while people at the hearing might disagree on cause and effect, the issues come down to fewer oil refineries in California today than 30 years ago; growing state regulations on oil companies; and the Governor’s and Democrats’ vow to end fossil fuels in California. “We are going to tax and regulate you into no more fossil fuels in California,” Slagle  told the Globe of the governor’s mission.

WSPA Climate policy cost impacts. (Photo: WSPA)

The California Energy Commission Commissioners were expected to consider and discuss conditions impacting recent trends and mitigation strategies to insulate consumers from price shocks as the state transitions away from fossil fuels.

Not addressed properly by the governor’s people is the impact on oil prices by the governor’s regulations, bans and mandates – and highest-in-the-nation gas/oil taxes by the state of California.

Western States Petroleum Association Executive Director Catherine Reheis-Boyd reported to the commission that the oil industry’s Earnings are Similar to Other S&P 500 sectors. “Earnings are generating attention largely because the price of crude oil was significantly higher the first three months of the year, as growth in demand for fuels and other petroleum products outpaced growth in supply,” she reported. “Natural gas and oil earnings can fluctuate more – because of lags in the sector’s ability to respond to rapid changes in demand.”

She also noted “earnings should be viewed in a larger context than a quarter at a time. Natural gas and oil company earnings per dollar of revenue (red bars) are in line with or below those of the S&P 500 as a whole.”

Reheis-Boyd reported, “more than 90% of the stocks of natural gas and oil companies are owned by institutions, investment advisors and retirement funds, including those of millions of Americans invested in 401Ks as well as private and public pension funds.”

But since the overall goal of the Governor is to drive the oil industry out of business in California, it can’t be ignored that it is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s and the Democrats’ policies that are driving up gas prices.

There are no “windfall profits” in California’s oil industry – only a short supply of the necessary oil and gas, which has not kept pace with California’s population doubling in 20 years.

Even Tesla founder Elon Musk knows 52% of his electric cars are plastic, which is a petroleum product. Even Elon Musk knows we need more oil and gas production, and hasn’t been shy about saying so. CNBC reported Musk saying, “Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise civilization will crumble.”

Following the CEC hearing, a source told the Globe: “So while California media outlets focused almost entirely on the oil company representatives not being at the energy commission hearing – without adequately describing their legitimate reasons for not attending, or noting that they sent detailed letters providing all the information the commission needs, or mentioning that their trade association WSPA sent a representative who fully explained the industry’s position on every single issue – the issue isn’t about the oil industry as much as it is about Gov. Newsom’s and the Democrats’ regulations, bans, mandates and policies which create market forces that impact the cost of oil and gas.”

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12 thoughts on “California Energy Commission Kangaroo Court Hearing on CA Gas Prices

  1. What a nasty, embarrassing, lying bully we have for a governor. Aren’t we lucky that we live in a state where Gov Gavin makes us cringe EVERY DAY with his annoying sideshows? You and I would have been MORTIFIED to have done this sort of thing even in Junior High. Not the Gov! We know he is engaging in an immature theatrical show, and he knows he is too. But apparently it works for him and his ridiculous brethren. In California, anyway. He stirs up hate and resentment of a boogeyman (oil) and it satisfies a small but loud group, mostly because these unbalanced people get off on seeing Gav stick his finger in the eye of the other boogeyman he has constructed: Normal sensible people who just want to live their lives with minimum drama and who are constantly dismayed to be “led” by an embarrassing jackass like this junior high school bully of a politician.

  2. The governor needs to be reminded that his precious wine/restaurant/resort empire was founded on Getty Oil profits.

  3. If Gov. Newsom and the five unelected Democrat bureaucrats on the California Energy Commission really cared about high gas prices being paid by Californians, then they would advocate for lowering the state’s gas tax which is the highest in the country and would advocate for increasing oil production and refinery capacity in the state instead of proposing another gas tax that will only increase gas prices for Californians? As Katy pointed out, it’s a kangaroo show trial that only the most gullible would fall for?

  4. Big integrated oil companies like Shell and ExxonMobil, are long gone from California except for Chevron. The only oil companies left are a few refiners which don’t compare financially to the big guys. Sacramento’s policies have already reduced crude production in the state from over 1.2 million barrels per day to around 300,000 BPD. Of the remaining several refineries, 2 are being converted to producing renewable fuels made from feedstock grown in the central valley if there was water. Oops. The shortfall of crude oil and transportation products is supposed to be made up with imports but new “at berth” regulations will greatly reduce the number of ship-calls on which to import all petroleum commodity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anyone in Sacramento, including the CEC, does any long-term planning.

  5. The WEF/UN goal is to price energy out of the reach of all but the topmost elites. These hearings are all a sham to placate the useful idiots.

  6. So, just like restaurants, the energy companies and gas stations and refineries will put a 4% charge at the bottom of the bill charging more for doing business in California. Guess who pays, “We the people”!

  7. Aside from the WEF/UN “you will own nothing” agenda, Hair Gel has one of his own. It is rumored that he and his aunt, along with their cronies, have a lot riding on the lithium mining project being planned for the Salton Sea, which will likely trash what’s left of the environment in that region, and make most of the surrounding towns uninhabitable. Hair Gel and company stand to make a fortune off of forcing us Plebeians into lithium battery powered electric vehicles. Of course, we won’t be able to drive them much due to the failing grid, but we’re just useless eaters cluttering up “their” roads anyway, so that’s a perk as far as the anointed high priests of the Deep State are concerned.

  8. So what is the explanation the oil companies gave in their “detailed letters” that answers all of CEC’s questions?

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