Why Gavin Newsom Is Creating A Water And Energy Disaster – OpEd


California Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday claimed he was taking major action to address the drought affecting California and the West. More than 90% of California is in severe drought, up from 65% just one year ago. He said he had created an agreement that was a win-win-win for residents, farmers, and conservationists.

In truth, Newsom is starving California of both water and energy. We are in the worst energy crisis in 50 years and yet Newsom is planning to shut down the largest single source of energy in California, Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Meanwhile, he has failed to build a single new large water project, despite the fact that California voters in 2014 passed a $2.7 billion water bond to pay for them.

Can’t water conservation save us? It can’t. Newsom declared a drought emergency last year and urged residents to reduce our water use by 15%. We only did so by 6%. It’s true that mandatory restrictions between June 2015 and April 2016 reduced water use by 25%. But the state was ultimately rescued in 2017 by large atmospheric river storms, not conservation.

Energy and water are related. Energy can create freshwater through desalination. Israel has built so many desalination plants that it is now replenishing the Sea of Galilee. Just nine desalination facilities the size of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant near San Diego would be enough to offset the 2022 loss of water from the Colorado river, calculates Doomberg, a must-read blog for anyone concerned with energy.

The same company that operates Carlsbad has been trying to build another desalination plant one hour up the coast, but has failed to do so, despite our historic megadrought. Newsom says he supports the desalination facility but has refused to waive the regulations blocking it.

Reactors could also be added to Diablo Canyon to desalinate gigantic quantities of water. Indeed, that was the original plan.

The result of Newsom’s leadership failures could be catastrophic. California is the fifth largest producer of food in the world. We are the largest producer of dairy and food in the U.S. Over a third of America’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts are grown here.

And producing food requires water. Already the world faces terrible famines because of an energy crisis created in part by pro-scarcity environmentalists. Now, Newsom’s actions, and inaction, are making scarcity worse.

Why is Newsom talking out of both sides of his mouth? Because he cares more about running for president than he does about the people of California. And he believes that running for president requires the support of pro-scarcity environmentalists like Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and their financial backers.

The two groups oppose desalination and favor closing Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. They have a combined annual revenues of nearly $300 million, a significant share of which comes from the very same natural gas and renewable energy companies that stand to make billions replacing the energy from Diablo Canyon.

Naturally, many of the same financial interests back Newsom. Some pro-nuclear people think they can change Newsom’s mind by appealing to his donors, but a big part of the reason Newsom sought to kill Diablo Canyon was to deliver a scalp to his pro-scarcity donors.

I have been fighting to save Diablo Canyon and other nuclear plants since 2016, and yesterday, the Biden administration announced $6 billion to keep nuclear plants operating.

In the end, the only way to avert the coming energy, water, and food disaster is to vote Newsom out of office and elect someone with the courage to fight for abundant energy, water, and food for the people of California.

Michael Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” and president of Environmental Progress. Follow him on Twitter @ShellenbergerMD and at https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com

4 thoughts on “Why Gavin Newsom Is Creating A Water And Energy Disaster – OpEd

  • April 20, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    Newsom became governor in 2019… The closure of this plant was alrready in effect back in 2016:

    “PG&E stated their reason for closing Diablo Canyon when it set the wheels in motion in 2016. According to legal documents PG&E submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission, the utility anticipated lower demand — not for energy in general, but for nuclear energy specifically.”

    Energy can create freshwater through desalination. Israel has built so many desalination plants that it is now replenishing the Sea of Galilee.

    Yeah… Well, California is 163,696 mi² and Israel is only 8,550 mi²… The logistics of moving vast quantities of water around our state to service our 39 million population boggles the mind…. Are you really suggesting that we can just desalinate water in SoCal and ship it 565 miles across rivers and mountains to the North State?

    The reasons for our lack of water and therefore our lack of electricity simply boils down to right-wing climate deniers blocking progress.

    Newsom did not create the problem, he’s dealing with the result of Republicans sucking up to fossil fuels.

    • April 30, 2022 at 8:08 pm

      What “Republicans” are you talking about??! Democrats have RUN this state for decades. Are you simply being obtuse, or are you ignorant?

  • April 26, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    Having been born and raised in California, I was always proud to be a native son, but when Newsom came into existence, that all changed, and I had to retire that proud feeling and learn to like crow. Now I run away from it and have relocated where family, God and The Constitution are still the family values where I know have relocated.

    Newsom is a narcistic, pathological, pinko commy liar (sound familiar ?). He has absolutely no interest in solving any of California’s many problems. His only goal is face time to try and further is historical sorry political career.

    If he cared at all about the water crisis, he would have shit-canned the train to nowhere and try and bring in water from the Northwest instead. As far as power, he would be encouraging the only clear source of energy, nuclear. At the very least, he would be promoting clean fossil fuel burning processes. Yet, he does none of this.

    In short, he is a natural born loser.

  • May 3, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    I am amazed at how politics blinds people on the corruption taking place within their own two party system. Governor Brown started many of policies that Governor Newsome continues to fast track. Both sides support and lock step with the World Economic Forum towards the end result of “you will own nothing and be happy”, and yet, people still think that their side cares for the people they govern. Do you really think they care about homeownership and small businesses? Many of the itemized deductions disappeared when the standardized deduction increased under Trump. Anyone actually look at where the trillion dollar stimulus fund went (stop watching the pennies that ended up in your pockets)? Who is responsible for auditing this information when the democrats and republicans are really playing on the same team? Is it really environmentally friendly to replace paper and wood with plastic? Is mining for rare minerals for batteries less devistating than emitting carbon into the atmosphere? What about the separation of government and media being removed at the executive level under Obama? Smoke and mirrors from our greedy politicans.


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