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Gray Davis on Energy & Oil

Former Democratic CA Governor


Says his mishandling of energy crisis prompted recall

Q: In acknowledging this unprecedented recall you’ve admitted that you made mistakes. What did you do wrong?

DAVIS: I think that I was too slow to act on the energy crisis. This is what we were facing faced with. People ought to know. Everyone told me to raise consumer rates even though the promise of deregulation was that rates would go down.

I felt something was amiss, either with the utilities or energy companies and consumers should not have to pay the full load.

Everyone asked me to do it. I hesitated, hesitated because I did not want to do it. Eventually we raised the rates 10 to 20%, not the 400% we wanted. We built 24 plants. People conserved magnificently. Our lights did not go off two weeks ago, like they did on the East Coast and in London, because we have made the investments and generated the conservation to prepare for California’s future.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek (pre-debate interview) , Sep 3, 2003

Wants to get past recall to get to re-regulating energy

Q: How do you feel about the recall election? DAVIS: I know that the problems we deal with pale in comparison to the problems of the people that I represent. I have their message. I know they are angry. But I know they want me to fight for their future so I have specific things to get done, including reregulating energy. We’ll get to them.
Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek (pre-debate interview) , Sep 3, 2003

Addressing energy demand as well as supply

I want to just dispute a couple of myths. First, there is this notion out here that in California we’re just consuming electricity like there’s no tomorrow. We’re in the hot tub, we got all the lights on. Where the reality is that only one state in America, Rhode Island, is more electricity efficient than California.

We have to do a better job than we’re doing but we’re already extraordinarily efficient. I have, for example put in an 800 million dollar conservation program to incite businesses and individuals to be much more energy efficient.

Another notion is that we never built any plants. There is truth to that because for the 12 years preceding my governorship, not one major plant was built. But starting in April 1999, we started approving plans. We approved nine, six are under construction; three will be up by this summer. And there are 14 more in the pipeline. So both on the conservation side and on the demand side we have stepped up to the challenge and answered the call.

Source: Press Release , Mar 1, 2001

Voluntary partnerships reduce greenhouse gases economically.

Davis adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA policy NR-11, Global Climate Change Domestic Policy 00-NGA3 on Aug 15, 2000

Kyoto Treaty must include reductions by all countries.

Davis adopted the National Governors Association policy:

If appropriate international commitments are established and are ratified by the US, the Governors believe implementation should be allowed to be achieved through cost-effective market-based activities, which account for scientifically verifiable and accountable reductions in greenhouse gas levels regardless of where the reductions are achieved. Any multinational emissions trading program must provide a flexible and workable framework that takes full advantage of market forces and maximizes international participation.
Source: NGA policy NR-11, Climate Change International Policy 00-NGA4 on Aug 15, 2000

Federal tax incentives for energy, with state decisions.

Davis signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Western Governors find that states must continue to play a pivotal role in electric power decisions. Specifically:
  1. We need to pursue a national energy policy that will result in a diverse energy portfolio:
  1. Energy efficiency and conservation: At a minimum:
Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 01: Energy Policy Roadmap 01-WGA01 on Aug 14, 2001

Other governors on Energy & Oil: Gray Davis on other issues:
CA Gubernatorial:
Jerry Brown
CA Senatorial:
Barbara Boxer
Dianne Feinstein

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011