California’s costly green subsidies

If there was any doubt about the economic success of state-mandated green programs, it was erased this week after a state Senate hearing about the future of alternate fuels. By the end of the four-hour session, it was clear that environmental special interests are thriving in California.

At the hearing, Jane Williams of California Communities Against Toxics threw out statistics and emotional testimony about the increase in asthma in California children caused by vehicle emissions.

“California consumes transportation fuel more like a country,” she said.

CCAT, which advocates for “environmental justice, pollution prevention and world peace,” lays claim to stopping “every major attempt to roll back environmental regulation in California for the past decade.” CCAT “has prevented any new incinerators from being built in California, and shut down all but a half dozen incinerators. It has halted plans by the nuclear industry to build a nuclear waste dump in the California desert, and has dozens of victories at the community level.”

Williams blamed transportation fuels for being at the root of hunger, and said that one in three children in America lives in poverty because of biofuel mandates. While biofuels such as ethanol are blended with petroleum, they do not go far enough for environmentalists in achieving clean-energy mandates.

Williams talked about the environmental justice movement, which believes that minorities and low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by pollution and contaminates from big industry. While there is certainly evidence of this in some economically depressed areas of the state, there is also a disproportionate enforcement of auto emission standards by the state on low-income individuals.

UC Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen told the hearing that drivers of internal combustion engine automobiles need to be forced into purchasing alternative energy vehicles and take public transportation — or else more financial pain must be inflicted.

Kammen even advocated installing devices in cars that measure the total distance we travel, and record and report the need and purpose for that travel. Apparently, if I make too many single-driver trips to work in my nonhybrid car, I would be required to take public transportation or be fined. It is through these fines that environmentalists and some legislators are planning to pay for the state’s green subsidy programs.

Never mind that alternative energy does not produce the amount of energy we need, nor is it as inexpensive or reliable as petroleum fuels we have now. California environmentalists can crow all they want but so far, wind and solar are unreliable and unpredictable and merely supplemental.

Environmentalists and other energy special interests are in cahoots with the government, and the joke is on the taxpayer. It is campaign support payback time, just as we saw with the Solyndra scandal, where big campaign donors are fed government subsidies to run politically correct, government-approved businesses.

California’s Air Resources Board long ago ditched its mission “to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the effects on the state’s economy.

Since California’s global warming law, AB 32, was passed in 2006, unemployment soared in California to 12 percent, manufacturing lost more than 600,000 jobs, large and small companies fled to other states or permanently closed, and transportation and trucking jobs have tanked because of diesel regulations.

Although the national economy also has been hit, California’s unemployment rate stands at almost 3 percentage points higher than the national number. At this rate, the very few green jobs actually created by green loan guarantees and green subsidies are going to be dwarfed by the real job losses in the coal and oil industries.

Katy Grimes is news reporter at CalWatchdog, which is affiliated with the Pacific Research Institute.

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