SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA – The California Air Resources Board (CARB) fights Proposition 23 and vehemently supports full enactment of AB 32. The agency also favors regulations leading to a cost of $9.07 per gallon for gasoline. Are you on board?
CARB: Bay Area Should Achieve 15 Percent Emission Reduction by 2035
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the California Air Resources Board stunned the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) when it stipulated that rather than reducing emissions by five percent, the Bay Area was to reduce them by 15 percent. The MTC lost not time and went to work crunching the numbers, only to find out that if the target were even just 12 percent, gas prices would have to go up to about $9.07 per gallon. In addition, there would be a need for more taxes and fee-generated revenue.
Who (or what) is CARB?
The Air Resources Board came into existence in 1967. It consists of 11 individuals who are appointed by the governor and ratified by the Senate. The members are not elected and as long as the governor sees eye to eye with proposed rules and regulations, their terms of service are indefinite. Incidentally, CARB is greatly in favor of AB 32, which it terms “good for the environment” and “good for jobs.”
Proposition 23 vs. AB 32
AB 32 proposes to cut California’s emissions by 25 percent. Signed in 2006 during the housing boom, it seemed like an honorable piece of legislation. Fast forwarding to 2010 and a 12.4 percent California unemployment rate, the restrictions AB 32 would impose on industry and businesses are no longer a good idea.
Adding insult to injury, CARB has come under fire for employing a professional whose educational credentials actually hailed from a diploma mill and also for having “vastly over-estimated the amount of diesel pollution emitted by big off-road construction vehicles.” The problem is the fact that this over-estimation led to 2007 regulations, which cost construction and other industry vast funds to retrofit or replace in-use machinery.
Proposition 23 is a November, 2010 ballot measure that would halt enactment of AB 32 until the California unemployment rate falls do 5.5 percent for at least four quarters. Considering that even CARB downsized its initial estimate of creating an additional 100,000 jobs to only about 10,000 – as outlined by the Wall Street Journal — it stands to reason that now is not the time to enforce AB 32.
CARB vs. Common Sense
As a Californian, I find it worrisome that CARB has repeatedly relied on flawed data to push through regulations that have far-reaching consequences for industry and business. Even though I do not philosophically disagree with the need for lowering emissions, I practically question the wisdom of hobbling industry when an extremely large number of residents are unemployed.
Each day there are new foreclosure signs going up in my general area and when considering that the Air Resources Board does not even bat an eyelash at potentially raising Bay Area gasoline prices to astronomical heights, I am just not sure that California as a whole can afford CARB rules in general and AB 32 specifically.