CA Judges Get Cold Feet On Warming

FEB. 7, 2011


California’s effort to save the Earth by punishing humans is taking a beating in the courts in California. Last week, San Francisco Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith squashed the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, meant to reduce greenhouse gases by 50 percent, by ruling that state environmental rules creating a cap-and-trade system were adopted without proper legal regulatory analysis of alternatives. As Judge Goldsmith stated the California Air Resources Board “seeks to create a fait accompli by premature establishment of a cap-and-trade program before alternatives can be exposed to public comment and properly evaluated.”

This followed the December ruling by U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger who ordered the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service to rewrite its plan to drastically restrict water deliveries to California cities and farms in order to protect the two-inch long Delta Smelt. As the Judge Wanger emphasized in his 225 page opinion, “cutting water exports to California cities and farms – is “arbitrary” and “capricious”. He went on to say, “The public cannot afford sloppy science and uni-directional prescriptions that ignore California’s water needs.”

Every businessperson in California knows these stunning court rejections are the kiss of death for the fanatical environmental movement. These pro-business rulings are coming from the same courts that eco-warrior extremists have swamped with legal challenges and prevented the construction of any new dam on running water, widening the state aqueduct, or building of new oil refineries since Ronald Reagan was governor of California 40 years ago. For the last two years, environmental litigation resulted in an embargo on one third of all water deliveries to California’s Central Valley; causing agricultural losses of tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in crops. Television crews regularly would interview local teachers and policemen about farm families who had nothing to eat, because they had no water and were too proud to go on welfare. Investor’s Business Daily observed that the “reduction in water rendered the Central Valley a wasteland on a par with Zimbabwe.”

Judge Goldsmith and Judge Wanger’s declarations represent an intellectual sea-change in favor of business, but they also may be survival efforts of the California courts as a new endangered species. Although California benefited for decades from its favorable weather, gateway to the booming Asian markets, extremely fertile growing season and birthplace of much of our nation’s technical innovation; California is now grossly insolvent. The unemployment rate is over 12 percent; taxes are sky-high, the State budget has a $29 billion deficit; debt and pension obligations are over $500 billion; plus the population is shrinking as residents leave for better job prospects.

Last year, the California Legislature cut $100 million from the Court’s budgets by closing courthouses for one day a month. This provoked an unprecedented backlash among the normally tight-lipped Judiciary who howled in protest, some forming a rebel political lobby to resist the move. Newly inaugurated Governor Jerry Brown is pushing an additional $200 million budget reduction requiring all judges and staffs to take a 20 percent pay cut and close courthouses one day each week. The California Legislative Analyst just released a report suggesting $60 million more could be saved by cutting salaries of the courts in 13 high-cost metropolitan counties, such as that of San Francisco’s Judge Goldsmith, to a level equal to the lower wages of the State’s 45 rural counties.

Goldsmith and Wanger may also be concerned with warnings by the Heritage Foundation and others that implementation of California’s cap and trade legislation will cause annual state losses of approximately 134,396 jobs, equal to $41.48 billion in gross state product or about $997 per person. Furthermore, gasoline prices would jump an extra $0.72 per gallon and annual electricity costs would increase by $531 per household.

Whatever the combination of logic, economic survival or glacial temperatures, Goldsmith and Wanger have made important contributions to California’s future by slashing wasteful regulations, improving economic growth and making the state of California more competitive again. Remember their names!

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