Bee Editorial Board got it wrong. Oil and ag can co-exist, and lots of jobs depend on both

Bee Editorial Board got it wrong. Oil and ag can co-exist, and lots of jobs depend on both


DECEMBER 16, 2022 5:30 AM

A recent Fresno Bee editorial, entitled “’My Job Depends on Oil’ is a distraction from the real issue of protecting Fresno’s farming,” fails to make a compelling case that the new grassroots effort to preserve California’s oil jobs could be harmful to Valley agriculture, but it does succeed in highlighting the hypocrisy and extremism of California policymakers and their defenders in the media. What’s more, the Editorial Board left out a number of important facts.

The Editorial Board took aim at BizFed Central Valley’s “My Job Depends on Oil” campaign, which was modeled after, and enjoys the support of the founders of the extremely popular, Central Valley-based “My Job Depends on Ag” movement. The newspaper attempts to pit the two life-sustaining industries against one another, even though they both find themselves in the same boat — fighting for survival in a state run by overzealous politicians and bureaucrats who have indicated they will not stop their meddling until both industries are stamped out of existence.

The main thrust of The Bee’s argument is that oil production has a hand in causing drought, which deprives the agricultural industry of water. But that’s unfair. Drought was a fact of life in California centuries before oil was discovered here, and it’s only by sheer ingenuity and political fortitude that our farmers and state and federal water projects have overcome it to the degree they have.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, drought is “a recurring feature of our climate.” And that will never change. The Bee also left out the fact that environmental zealots routinely oppose desperately needed water storage projects at every turn. Thankfully, they were foiled in 2014 when voters demanded and won a mandate for more water storage via Proposition 1. Unfortunately, in the eight-plus years since its passage, nothing has been built.

The Editorial Board points out that petroleum producers are members of BizFed, and called out CEO Clint Olivier for saying it was “no secret.” But of course it’s no secret. The “My Job Depends on Oil” mission statement explicitly states it supports the industry and its tens of thousands of Valley workers — men and women who are afraid their good-paying jobs are about to become collateral damage at the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Just Transition” to an economy that will ostensibly run on 100% renewable energy.

The Bee also conveniently omitted the fact that many leading growers, packers, and agricultural professional associations are also members of BizFed, united by a common interest in the overall health of the Central Valley’s economy — whether it’s oil, agriculture, manufacturing, or other sectors. Oil and ag already do and will continue to co-exist peacefully for decades to come. Business leaders understand that it’s not either/or when it comes to pumping transportation fuel and harvesting crops in the Valley. Rather, it’s both/and.

Sadly The Bee throws its green stones from a glass newsroom. The newspaper has not chosen to go fully online to save the planet from deforestation caused by the production of newsprint or to spare asthmatic kids from the air pollution caused in part by myriad Bee delivery vehicles crisscrossing the Valley each day — including the truck that imports the print edition into Fresno from its Central Coast print shop every morning.

Does The Bee mandate its reporters drive electric vehicles to work? Or ride bicycles to cover breaking news events? Or use the bus? Is the clothing worn by editorial board members made by machines? What about their cell phones, laptops, cameras, and desks?

It appears The Bee and its employees owe their livelihoods to oil, too. That’s perfect. There is an unlimited quantity of decals available for them to order from our website. Welcome to “My Job Depends on Oil.”

Steve Malanca, co-founder of My Job Depends on Ag, and Clint Olivier, CEO, Central Valley Business Federation

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