Assemblyman Calls CARB Out

Katy Grimes:

UPDATED: 3/1/2012

Assemblyman Brian Jones crisply expressed his frustration today at an Assembly Budget Committee hearing, when he called-out  Mary Nichols for not attending the hearing.

Nichols is the California Air Resources Board Director.

“CARB is a rogue agency,” Jones, R-Santee, said, and told CARB’s Deputy Director Richard Corey, who attended the hearing in place of Nichols, that the agency exists because the Legislature allows it to.

Corey was a dreadful mouthpiece for CARB at today’s hearing. Instead of answering legislators questions with clear, concise answers, Corey used textbook bureaucrat-speak, which was unintelligible, and about as clear as mud.

Jones said after the hearing that CARB is out of control. “The Governor and the Legislature have wound them up and let them go. Unfortunately, I don’t think that any Democrats have the appetite to reign them in,” Jones added.

Jones said that CARB has already gone far beyond its authority in many cases, with the unclear implementation of AB 32, California’s climate change law.

Apparently Nichols’ office sent a lame excuse to legislators for not attending the hearing, which Jones said had been on the agenda a long time. He said her agency said she had a previous engagement and was out of the state.

This isn’t the first time Nichols has pulled a disappearing act on the Legislature when tough questions are on the agenda. I have attended many hearings when Nichols should have been present, and instead sent other CARB officials to deal with legislators and obfuscate the issues.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, defended Nichols, and disputed Jones’ statements. Huffman said that Nichols has attended the many hearings the Legislature has held. “There is an awful lot of ideology brought into this hearing,” Huffman said. And then Huffman added that the people of California agree with what CARB is doing, because voters defeated Proposition 23.

If it had passed, Proposition 23 would have suspended AB 32 until unemployment in California dropped to 5.5 percent, which is currently hovering around 12 percent.

“Voters were lied to with the opposition to Prop 23,” Jones said. “It’s all coming out now.”

UPDATE: Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, the author of Proposition 23,  said that Prop 23 lost “because a wall street venture capitalist spent 40 million to defeat it.”

Logue described California residents as “economic hostages, whose electric and energy and gas bills will go through the ceiling so that Wall Street venture capitalists can be guaranteed profits.”

“Backers (of Prop 23) were steamrolled by a $31.2 million campaign funded by such wealthy philanthropists as San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, such big environmental groups as the National Wildlife Federation and the ClimateWorks Foundation, and such Silicon Valley green-tech moguls as John Doerr and Vinod Khosla,” the Los Angeles Times reported in November 201o, after the measure failed.

Logue said that “green” businesses like Solylendra, which cost taxpayers one half of a billion dollars, will continue to drive more and more businesses out of California, while the rest of the country watches with amazement.

FEB. 29, 2012

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