The California succession from the United States, commonly known as Calexit, is back. The radical movement first took hold, but ultimately fell short, after the election of Donald Trump as president. Well now,  the California Freedom Coalition has delivered a notice to the Office of the Attorney General with the intent of putting the notion of California gaining its independence on the ballot.

Unlike the original Calexit plan, the new initiative is far less radical and seems to have an end goal of redefining the relationship between the United States and California while leaving open the possibility of California maintaining a relationship with the United States.

With the nature of how the relationship would look still very much open, it is difficult to speculate on the exact ripple effects that would be felt, but there are a few items that California would have to solve if they gained independence.

1. Military Installations

California is home to dozens of military bases and facilities which are owned by the United States, including large facilities such as Fort Irwin and Naval Base San Diego which houses the Pacific Fleet.  If California were to become a sovereign nation, does this potentially turn into another Crimea conflict like was seen between Russia and Ukraine? Would the U.S annex territory to connect military bases on federal land to the continental U.S?

2. Federal Lands

On top of land used for the military, the federal government owns sizable plots of land throughout California.  According to Ballotpedia, the federal government owns 45,864,800 acres of the total 100,206,720 acres in California which equates to approximately 46% of the total land currently in California.  Will residents prefer greater autonomy and sovereignty at the expense of losing half of the state’s land or having to buy half of the state’s acreage at what is sure to be a premium price?

3. Tariffs and Trade

By this point, it seems obvious that President Trump has a vindictive side to him.  So, the thought that he, with a Republican held Congress, would be open to negotiating a trade agreement that benefits California seems more like a fairy tale and quite far removed from reality.  It’s very possible California would draw the ire of Trump and be in the cross hairs for pricey tariffs. California may boast a top 10 GDP as an independent nation, but that is under the current arrangement of having unabated access to the entire United States market and benefiting from trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries.

4.  Utilities

California has an energy shortage.  Currently, that problem is easily remedied by “importing” power from neighboring states which are obviously in the same country at the moment.  But what if they weren’t?  Not only would there likely be far higher rates since it would truly be an import but, it would also put California at the mercy of the U.S. government, which is similar to the predicament most of Europe faces due to their reliance on Russian natural gas imports.   According to Forbes, California imported 33% of its energy supply from neighboring states as of 2016. Additionally, California experiences about 470 power outages, or about an outage every 18 hours, per year. To put that in perspective, the next closest state, Texas, only experiences about 160 per year.

5. Water

The substance that is essential for life is something that is a scarcity in California. According to the Water Education Foundation, California obtains 4.4 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River. Or in other words, California would have to rely on a foreign country for over 1.4 trillion gallons of water each year, which would be a very costly supply.

6. Disaster Relief

2017 has already seen one disaster in California with the Oroville Dam spillway, and in the aftermath of the catastrophe, California Governor Jerry Brown went running to the federal government for money.  For a state that sits on the notorious San Andreas fault line, earthquakes are another common occurrence that will necessitate aid.  Not to mention, 2016 saw hundreds of thousands of acres scorched by vicious wildfires.  So, could a newly sovereign country absorb the millions upon millions of dollars in costs to provide assistance for the inevitable disasters that will occur?

All in all, there are benefits and drawbacks to California and the United States in the event of a California succession, but there are certainly issues that California would need to resolve before leaving in a temper tantrum.

{Via The Sacramento Bee}

Title Image via “California Republic” by Hakan Dahlstrom is licensed under CC BY 2.0