In a deranged attempt to be the first state (again) to push an aggressive environmental agenda, California Air Resources Board officials grossly inflated pollution levels in air quality statistics by more than 340 percent in order to justify the agency’s radical environmental mandates and regulations.

Heads should roll, or at the very least, a public flogging should take place on the west steps of the Capitol. One state legislator wants to hold the Chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, accountable.

"She has to go," said Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda. Referring to Nichols as an "environmental extremist, activist," Logue said he will be calling for hearings about the CARB’s use of bogus claims when the legislature is back in session. In the meantime, he said that the governor should fire Nichols: "And if this governor won’t, I’ll ask the next one."

Instead of using available valid science, CARB has fashioned regulations that merely support questionable, sketchy "science" used by the state "to pick winners and losers in the rapidly evolving and extremely complex market for clean technologies," according to Daniel Ballon, Ph.D, former Director of Technology Studies with the Pacific Research Institute (CalWatchdog’s parent organization).

In 2009, Ballon wrote, "In March, 111 leading Ph.D. researchers sent a letter to CARB boss Mary Nichols warning that the science is far too limited and uncertain for regulatory enforcement. CARB’s own peer reviewers concluded that such analysis is in its infancy, rife with significant uncertainties, and not yet sufficiently developed to be scientifically confirmed. Putting ideology ahead of science, Nichols scoffed when the people who oppose it say, ‘we just don’t know enough and shouldn’t do anything,’ because we don’t think that’s acceptable. The CARB mandates, for example, ignore the strain that plug-in hybrid vehicles exert on the electricity grid, triggering an increase in fossil fuel combustion."

Instead of letting the facts get in the way, during a June commencement speech at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, Nichols said, "We’ve proposed the nation’s first plan for a broad-based cap-and-trade system using market forces to reduce global warming emissions. And, for the first time in its 40-year history, the air board is venturing into land use planning – as yet another way to reduce climate-altering vehicle emissions. We will be doing this under authority of the Sustainable Communities Strategy and Climate Act of 2008, also known as Senate Bill 375. This is the nation’s first law to control greenhouse gas emissions by curbing urban sprawl."

Be very afraid of people like Nichols in positions of power with the government.

CARB has nearly 1,200 employees. The average CARB employee salary was more than $85,000 per year, with nearly 35 percent of staff making $90,000 or more per year, according to a 2009 study that included data compiled and extracted from the Sacramento Bee’s State Employee Salary Database. Of the 1,176 employees, 388 held the Job Title of "Air Pollution Specialist." CARB’s annual budget is $800 million.

Mary Nichols also knew that CARB employee Hien Tran lied about earning a Ph.D., and did not tell the rest of the board. Tran is the CARB employee who wrote the diesel emissions standards report on deaths from emissions, which has now been discovered to be grossly inflated. Tran was only demoted.

Defying all reason and sensibility, in the UCLA commencement speech Nichols said, "The brain trusts that the air board has assembled for these climate change solutions include experts energy and economics, venture capital, urban planning and building design, forestry and dairy management – to name just a few on the fields we’ve tapped. It’s a mosaic of expertise as inter-connected as climate change itself."

Brain trusts? Mosaic of expertise? Tell that to Dr. James Enstrom. He’s the UCLA epidemiologist whose studies showed "no causal link between diesel soot and death in California" and was told after a secret department vote that he would not be rehired because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission" of his department. Enstrom taught for 36 years at UCLA, but said he was being fired because his scientific beliefs are "politically incorrect."

An Oct. 8 San Francisco Chronicle story reported that CARB, which is responsible for researching and adopting air quality standards, used inflated statistics to create unbending and rigid regulations, forcing businesses to dramatically cut diesel emissions, resulting in massive and costly vehicle upgrades.

The CARB data in question stated that deaths caused by diesel emissions were as high as 18,000 in one year, but the actual number has quietly been adjusted down to 9,200. The new, more accurate numbers indicate that off road vehicle owners would not need to make the very expensive changes to their vehicles, and may be able to only slightly modify them instead.

Nichol’s environmentalist doctrine is clear: "We can’t count on concerns over planetary warming to increase demand for more fuel-efficient cars and solar panels, or to curb sprawl and cut vehicle miles traveled," she told the UCLA graduates. "We’re banking on setting ambitious and forward-looking standards to ease and speed the shift to a cleaner and more efficient low-carbon economy."

Logue scoffed at such anti free-market statement. He’s been trying to end the state’s regulation "stranglehold" on business with his Proposition 23, which would suspend AB 32, California’s draconian global warming legislation.

When I asked Logue about the recent San Francisco Chronicle story exposing the most recent inflated stats, he said, "The truth is filtering through."

Many involved with AB 32 implementation questioned why CARB would delay the start of air quality requirements. The Chronicle reported that Nichols not only could not answer why the air board statistics were off by such a large percentage, she emphatically insisted that there are no concerns about other scientific data.

Still at issue is whether on-road trucks will also be able to make less expensive vehicle changes. Of course, CARB reports that AB 32 implementation is on-target and will not be delayed.

Last summer, Logue asked the Legislative Analyst’s Office for an updated evaluation of CARB’s economic analysis for AB 32 implementation. The June 16 report provided to Logue stated that, "The Legislature should hold hearings to direct ARB to fill the most crucial information gaps in its economic analysis …. the goal of such direction would be to improve the overall effectiveness and cost-efficiency of AB 32 implementation."

The LAO added that, ‘The Legislature’s intervention is particularly important because many of these policy choices reflect opportunities to contain the costs associated with implementing [AB 32] in an efficient way."

"AB 32 is likely to cost households and businesses more than necessary, and there’s no assurance that the air resources board will implement the law in a cost-efficient manner," Logue said. "Once again, the LAO has demonstrated that ARB is proceeding with what is arguably the most costly policy initiative in California history in a manner that can only be described as reckless. ARB is rushing into policies that will cost Californians billions of dollars in higher energy costs and put over a million jobs at risk without sufficient legislative oversight, without adequate economic research, and with callous disregard for the challenges faced by California families at a time of record-high unemployment, record-high state budget deficits and record-high state debt."

Last year, many of the business owners that fled California’s hostile business environment met with state legislators in Reno, Nevada for hearings to discuss why they left. Besides being one of the highest taxed states in the country, the business owners reported that the anti-business attitude of state government as well as state regulators forced them to leave.

Joe Vranich, a Business Relocation Coach, reports, "For every three news businesses that move into California, 100 move out." Vranich participated in the Reno hearings, and has been keeping tabs on the high numbers of businesses leaving California.

Logue said that California is headed straight for the same economic end as Spain. "For every green job created, 700 were lost in Spain." Logue said that CARB will take California right down the same path toward economic ruin if they are not stopped.

Nichols, for her part, doesn’t see it that way. "AB 32 creates the conditions that allow California to remain No. 1 in clean energy investments," she said at UCLA. "Three out of every five dollars invested in clean technology in North America comes to California. We’ve laid the groundwork to go after those markets and jobs."

But she neglected to tell the graduates that the state subsidizes every the green job created.

"Mary Nichols represents an arrogance found in too many bureaucracies, which unfortunately, serves only to embolden the entire agency," Logue said. "The economy is crumbling, and they are helping to do it."