By: Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President and CEO
Energy policy is too important to all of us in California, and across the nation, to not get right. That means making sure that everyone has a seat at the table when important decisions about our collective energy future are being made. But too often, the proverbial ‘table’ has been stacked with single-viewpoint voices whose echo chamber leaves little to no room for diversity of thought, opinion or circumstances. It’s not right, and besides making for ineffective policy, it also silences large portions of California’s population – people and communities that have as much right to help shape a sustainable energy future than anyone. That’s why we found it crucial to launch a new program – called Levanta Tu Voz (Raise Your Voice) – to help elevate the voices of California’s Latino community in the discussion around energy policy.
Let’s be clear. We are all concerned about climate change, and we all want clean air. But improving air quality and fighting climate change will only work if the solutions are affordable and equitable to everyone.
Levanta Tu Voz was conceived by WSPA’s partners and outreach team years ago after hearing concerns surrounding Governor Newsom’s executive order banning internal combustion engines by 2035. We knew then that many, including a large majority of the Latino population in this state, felt blindsided, and did not feel they had a say in a policy that would directly affect their lives. We also know those same groups feel the same way today. That’s why our goal is to bring the voices to the table that have been historically ignored, or worse – silenced. Through this program, we hope to engage, educate and empower the diverse voices of California’s Latino community and ensure policymakers and the media hear their positions, concerns and deserving points of view.
Our industry knows something about feeling silenced and unheard. For years, policymakers and California’s Governor have not included the expertise of the women and men– who I proudly represent – of the oil and gas industry. Those who work every day providing the oil, gas and jet fuel that California families and businesses need to live and prosper. These women and men of our industry have provided the energy that has kept America running for decades, and are some of the most knowledgeable experts and innovators in the world. Yet our decades of experience and leadership in everything from fuels to renewables to carbon capture technology have been purposely overlooked. And as a result, we have energy policies that are unworkable and unfair to many Californians, not to mention regulations that have been made too fast and are entirely too costly.
Sadly, it has also meant that California’s Latino community has also been left out of discussions that crucially impact their livelihoods and the very lives of their families. That’s not right either. California’s policymakers and media are always “saying” they speak for California’s diverse communities. But their record is clear. They have consistently ignored the impact their regulations and mandates will have on their communities. Especially those communities still recovering from the pandemic and who rely on their cars and trucks to get to work and support their families.
Our goal is to share the facts about these rushed policies and the costly impact they will have on California families. Everything from Newsom’s ban on the sale of internal combustion engine cars and trucks, to his mandates that we get rid of all gas- powered tools that are essential to many of our jobs, and his push to electrify everything. These are real issues that will hurt real Californians, and the Latino community and everyone in the state deserve to know the hidden consequences coming from these forced regulations.
It’s time for more voices to be heard in this conversation. And by visiting our website (www.levantatuvoz.com), Californians can learn more about current and proposed energy policies, in Spanish and in English. Visit the website (here) and share your stories. Energy policy is too important for everyone for some to be left out of the discussion.
Let your voices be heard!