Did you see the latest photo op when Santa Barbara County supervisors stood next to an oil spill of some 600 gallons in a creek bed that killed dozens of animals? Actually, for the first time ever, there was no photo op featuring the typical sanctimonious hand-wringing because the source of the spill is a site maintained by the government in Toro Canyon.
If an oil company had been responsible, it would have been excoriated and prosecuted.
Apparently, not all oil spills are created equally.
Speaking of oil spills or the potential thereof, ExxonMobil wants to truck crude oil from Gaviota to Santa Maria and/or Kern County. This project, slated to operate for seven years, has become the subject of an environmental impact report.
The dopey analysts who prepared the report somehow determined that the tanker trucks posed a risk of a spill of five gallons or more once every 52 years for trucks heading to Santa Maria. For trucks heading to Kern County, the risk of a spill was calculated once every 17 years.
Hmm, do the math, 7 years vs. 52 and 17? Of course, tanker trucks, hauling all sorts of stuff (including rocket fuel to Vandenberg!), go up and down our freeways every single day, including trucks carrying gasoline through our city streets on a daily basis.
Speaking of trucks, just about everything we use travels by truck — 90% of all consumer goods and industrial materials to be exact. Our stores and factories would be empty were it not for the trucking industry.
Yet, for some very nebulous and nefarious reasons, environmentalists continue to attack this vital industry.
First there was a corrupt study, which resulted in the very expensive California diesel engine rule that hurt truckers in addition to the farming and construction industry, all of whom rely on heavy-duty diesel engines. Subsequently, they were forced to sell perfectly good equipment in order to buy new engines in an attempt to negligibly reduce emissions.
Next came AB5, which affected owner-operator truck drivers, as AB5 sought to eliminate contractors in the state of California.
Thankfully, the imposition of AB5 on our truckers has been stalled in the courts or we would be subject to shortages of every kind, including food and fuel. This has to do with the nature of trucking.
Many owner-operators haul a variety of loads for different companies on an as-needed basis. Regardless, our state legislature tried to force them into an employment situation that does not fit the work they do.
Now, we have the Biden administration attempting to create fuel-efficiency standards that will constitute another hit on our nation’s truckers. The only asset these truckers have is their rig and most truckers can’t afford a new engine.
As a result of all of the above, plus COVID-19 payouts to anyone who would rather stay home, we are currently experiencing a shortage of truck drivers.
Soon, we will have another government-created shortage, this time having to do with construction workers for county projects. That is, Santa Barbara County supervisors, along with the Santa Barbara City Council, are fixing to exclude 85% of local construction workers who constitute a non-union workforce.
Specifically, these union lackeys seek to exclude non-union contractors from being able to bid on government construction projects. This will surely drive up the cost of these projects, but the increase has nothing to do with how much the workers are paid.
That is, all workers get paid the same prevailing wages when they do government construction projects. The increased cost to taxpayers will arise from the fact that only 15% of our local construction companies will be eligible to bid on the work. Fewer bidders always mean higher costs for taxpayers.
So, what else is new?
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.