Brown Intends Energy Changes by Executive Order

Andy Caldwell
COLAB Executive Director, guest editorialist, and radio talk show host

Several years back, when Jerry Brown was serving as the Attorney General of California, I had the chance to interview him on the radio show. I asked him about a letter he had sent to county authorities in the Inland Empire having to do with their 20-year transportation plan. Mr. Brown’s letter challenged the plan because it relied heavily on future highway and freeway improvements to accommodate future growth and congestion.

Mr. Brown wanted to see more emphasis on alternative transportation. Specifically, he challenged the plan due to its reliance on the use of concrete due to the fact that manufacturing concrete is greenhouse gas intensive. His objections were based on AB32, the anti-global warming legislation that would require California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels (a 15 percent reduction) by the year 2020.

My question to Mr. Brown was pretty simple. At the time he wrote his letter, AB32 had been signed by the governor, but the California Air Resources Board had not yet delineated any of the provisions of the same. In other words, what is quite typical here in California is for the state legislature to adopt a goal by way of statute but then hand the matter off to appointed, i.e., unelected bureaucrats, to spell out the actual details of the law, including mandates and timelines. I was asking Mr. Brown how he could challenge the local authorities to comply with rules, regulations and mandates that had yet to be promulgated? He subsequently muttered some nonsensical response and then abruptly excused himself from the interview.

Fast forward to 2015. Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he wanted California to achieve even tougher standards for greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 and 2050. He wants us to reduce our use of fossil fuels by 50 percent, obtain 50 percent of our electricity from renewables, and increase home efficiencies by 50 percent by 2030. State Sen. Kevin DeLeon was happy to oblige and accordingly he introduced SB350 to accomplish the desires of the governor. In the meantime, state Sen. Fran Pavely introduced SB32, which will require California to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Here is what you need to realize: You are thinking to yourself that 2030 and 2050 are a long ways off, so who cares? The point here is our government isn’t going to wait 15-35 years to implement these goals. The goals must be accomplished ahead of these target dates, which means once the governor gives the green light, the fun begins. You can expect politicians, bureaucrats and activists to begin leveraging these goals immediately to the detriment of our energy supplies, transportation infrastructure, as well as, the affordability and availability of the appliances we rely on each and every day.

Let me make this perfectly clear — whereas the bulk of the provisions of AB32 applied mostly to the manufacturing and industrial sectors of our community, with the costs passed to consumers indirectly, Jerry Brown and the Sacramento wrecking crew are now going after you directly.

Thankfully, SB350 was amended to eliminate the one provision requiring a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use, but the other provisions having to do with home efficiencies and increasing California’s reliance on renewables passed. SB32 has stalled for now. However, all told, this is of little consolation because a visibly angry Jerry Brown has vowed to achieve the targets by way of future legislation or if all else fails, executive order.

Mr. Brown is an extremist. Fortunately, as evidenced by the votes in the Assembly, even his fellow Democrats are beginning to say “enough already.”

Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 pm on News Press Radio AM1290.

Originally Published in the Santa Barbara News Press.

Comment on this article


Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.