Influencers Opinion

Everyone wants a sustainable energy future. Let’s work together to make it happen

Note to readers: Each week through November 2019, a selection of our 101 California Influencers answers a question that is critical to California’s future. Topics include education, healthcare, environment, housing and economic growth. One influencer each week is also invited to write a column that takes a closer look at the issue.

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There is a false and unhelpful belief that concern for the environment and social equity are mortal enemies of economic and energy interests.

Don’t believe us? Spend a little time in our Twitter feeds.


While talking over each other rather than with each other is the prevalent approach to tough policy matters nowadays, we believe that finding common ground, even small bits of it, is more productive to finding a sustainable energy future than demonizing each other will ever be. So, let’s talk about where two folks coming from different roles on energy and the environment can agree:

Michael Mantell

We agree that climate change is real and that we can do more as industry and individuals to better address its causes and impacts. We also recognize that the scale and pace of this change compels us to focus on resilience and adaptation as we consider existing and future energy development.

We recognize that energy polices and sensibilities in California and the west are not always aligned with what comes from Washington D.C., and we are unlikely to see any loosening of environmental rules and laws at any level – state, regional or local here in California.

We agree that we are in a period of careful consideration about how energy is produced, distributed, consumed, shared and managed. We can either approach this challenge intentionally and inclusively, or we can continue to work against each other and wait to see what happens.

While we may differ as to how long that it will be the case, we agree oil and gas will remain a part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future. Planning for our state and nation’s energy future must acknowledge the importance of access to safe and affordable energy and its impact on health, well-being and prosperity for all.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd

We agree the future of energy can be best planned with those who represent environment, economic prosperity, social equity, health and energy at the table. If we fail to plan together, we are missing the opportunity to learn from the best knowledge, insights, experience and innovation that industry, science, environmentalists and other interests have to offer.

And, despite the state of public discourse and our Twitter feeds, we agree to remain optimistic and to work to create momentum among stakeholders, policy makers, regulators and the concerned public to set our differences aside, come together and approach our energy future the right way for the good of the people we all serve.

Michael Mantell is president of the Resources Legacy Fund. Catherine Reheis-Boyd is president of the Western States Petroleum Association. They are also both Energy and Environment Influencers for McClatchy’s California Influencers series.
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