Stevens: The Energy Industry Powers Us All
An op-ed originally featured in the LA/OC Building Trades News December 2019 Issue:
BY TODD STEVENS
President and Chief Executive Officer
California Resources Corporation
It’s the season for Californians to reflect on 2019 as we look ahead with hope to the opportunities of 2020. This past year has shown the resilience of the working families who form the backbone of our great state, and energy is the fundamental building block that powers us all. California Resources Corporation (CRC), the state’s largest independent oil and natural gas producer, shares the Building Trades’ commitment to a balanced “all-of-the above” affordable and reliable energy future. Traditional energy like oil and natural gas enables renewable energy, and the Building Trades are to be commended for their hard work in all sectors of energy production and infrastructure upon which every Californian relies.
I am truly grateful for the hard-working women and men who keep our economy and communities thriving. As we move into 2020, it’s important we continue to stand together and champion blue-collar careers, the right for working families to have upward economic mobility and locally produced energy.
True sustainability comes from local workers producing energy under California standards, rather than delegating our environmental stewardship to regimes overseas who do not share our commitment to labor, safety or human rights. As the state’s energy crisis showed 20 years ago, local production is key to energy affordability and reliability. This year many residents were forced to revisit the sporadic availability of electricity during power shutoffs. For Californians, this is not a reliable or sustainable solution – families need to be able to drive to work, get their kids to school and not have their food spoil in the refrigerator.
Local Energy Production
The irony is that as the United States moves toward energy self-reliance, California is choosing to import more and more of its energy and therefore exporting more and more of our blue-collar jobs. To power our modern lifestyles, Californians use all of the oil and natural gas produced in-state and still have to import an additional 70-plus percent from other states and foreign countries, mainly the Middle East. In addition, we import more than 90 percent of our natural gas and 30 percent of our electricity.
Similarly risky to relying on just one energy source, importing a majority of our energy from foreign regimes makes us vulnerable to global turmoil and supply disruptions. We need affordable energy available 24/7, and California’s past energy crisis should remind us to prioritize energy independence.
Standing Up for Local Jobs
CRC is proud of our Project Labor Agreement with the Building Trades, and we have fought shoulder to shoulder in many battles where blue-collar jobs have been threatened. Single-minded activists have been strongly pressuring lawmakers to ignore our need for energy diversity. They are urging the export of our local energy jobs, save for construction on solar or wind installations. They ignore the fact that local governments are increasingly banning utility-scale renewable projects. They also ignore the economic loss of good-paying jobs and tax revenue.
Let’s stand for public policy that serves ALL Californians, not the few. Policy decisions must be based in reality and not ignore the unintended consequences that increasingly make California unaffordable for working families. Irresponsible demands of activists and wishful thinking about technology that doesn’t exist shouldn’t drive policy decisions. In the New Year, we must work together so we can impact these policies. It’s critical that we continue to champion diverse, local energy production because we need an economic agenda that respects and prioritizes workers and promotes their quality of life, in tandem with the environment.
Here at CRC, we will continue to provide the very best local energy, produced under the strictest environmental standards in the country in facilities built and maintained by the finest union workforce in the world, thanks to our partnership with the Building Trades and our Tidelands Steelworkers. We are proud to be the only major energy company that is all Californian. We are proud to produce nearly 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day to stabilize our local energy supply and keep California from being completely dependent on imported oil and natural gas. From all of us at CRC, thank you for what you do and your continued support.
Todd Stevens is the President and Chief Executive Officer for California Resources Corporation, the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company in California. Learn more at www.crc.com.