CARB honcho Mary Nichols makes power grab

Mary NicholsFeb. 5, 2013

By Katy Grimes

SACRAMENTO — What do the California Air Resources Board, the Transit Authority, the Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Bar Pilots have in common?

More than you would think.

Because all vehicles, railroads, aircraft, freight movers and floating vessels are polluters, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols (pictured nearby) would like a say in regulating them.

The Assembly Transportation Committee originally announced it would meet on Monday, Feb. 4. The meeting agenda said it was to be about Assembly Bill 8, which would increase or extend $2.3 billion of fees on car owners until 2023.  According to Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, these will include smog abatement fees, air quality management district fees, vehicle and boat registration fees and new tire fees.

However, AB 8 was dropped from the agenda, and no mention of it was made at the two and one-half hour hearing.

California transportation

The hearing instead was an overview of all of the state agencies under the purview of the Transportation Committee: Business, Transportation and Housing, Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol, Office of Traffic Safety, the California Transportation Commission, High Speed Rail Authority, DMV and the Board of Pilots Commission.

Sitting quietly through all of the presentations, Nichols finally had a turn at the microphone as the last presenter. It was initially unclear why Nichols was at the hearing.  But unabashed and unguarded, Nichols is apparently injecting herself, and her growing agency, into all the state’s transportation issues.

“We have business before you this year,” Nichols told lawmakers. She explained she was there “because California’s life blood is the transportation system.” But, Nichols warned that transportation is responsible for climate change and air quality problems. In order to meet California’s climate change objectives, emissions need to be reduced “on roads and water.”

She added, “All contribute to climate issues.”

But Nichols didn’t stop there. “Our role is also to work on urban planning,” she said. “As regions plan roads and cities, we need them to be more walkable, bikeable and more healthy for their residents.”

Transportation issues in the state, she said, “[are] our business because of AB 32.”

Technology and cars

AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, requires cutting greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by year 2020.  Nichols said that, because of new clean technology in cars, owners will spend an additional $4,000 over the life of the car. But she said, “The costs will be paid back in cheaper gas.”

Nichols said CARB is holding a contest among  fuel manufacturers.

CARB is working with the Plug-in Electric Vehicles Collaborative, which claims to be “a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership, [working] to ensure a strong and enduring transition to a plug-in electric vehicle market in California.” The group recently hired termed-out Democratic state Sen. Christine Kehoe as its executive director.

“They are working on low-carbon fuels, but lagging behind on their goals. Bio fuels manufacturing is expanding, but we don’t know which fuels will win,” Nichols said.

Target on freight movers

This is where Nichols’ purpose for being at the hearing became clear. “I should mention here, freight, from an economic perspective and emissions perspective… the focus needs to be on freight as a primary source of pollution,” she said.

“The ARB has taken policies to cut emissions. We’ve cut seven tons a day. Expect 100 tons a day,” Nichols added. “In a world where carbon is an overarching concern,” she said CARB is planning for cutting emissions from the freight industry. And this means all modes of freight — cargo, rail, truck and air.

Accolades and congratulations

“We have to find ways to make communities safer and healthier, and still allow these to grow, she said. “In conclusion, California has a lot to be proud of. This has made us the premier agency in the world reducing toxins and emissions, with AB 32, AB 118,  and SB 375…. People around the world know those bill numbers, but not what they are,” she said with a laugh. “Our bills are known around the world.”

AB 118 is the California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean Air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007. It established the Air Quality Improvement Program, which is administered by CARB.

SB 375 is the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, which limits and regulates housing and transportation growth.


Write a comment
  1. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 5 February, 2013, 11:29

    Since California only contributes about 1% to the World’s Green House Gases, is it worth throwing the California economy under the bus to achieve miniscule results that will not improve the world’s GHG’s?

    Our lifestyle has become addicted to the chemicals and by-products from crude oil that drives other industries such as agricultural, pharmaceuticals, medications and medical supplies, processed foods, cosmetics, plastics, automotive parts, asphalt for roads, computers, iPhones, etc.

    Going green puts emphasis on photovoltaics and electric vehicles, two high-cost alternatives that receive extensive subsidies from federal and state governments.

    Solar and wind may be attractive alternative sources for electricity, but neither can manufacture the chemicals and by-products out of crude oil that drives the majority of industries that are the foundation of our quality of life and our economy.

    California has 37 million citizens and 34 million cars, trucks, busses and motorcycles. Those vehicles consume 2 million gallons of transportation fuels every hour (that’s 50 million gallons a day). The transportation fuels that are consumed are only manufactured in CA to C’s stringent requirements. No other manufacturer in the USA makes CA grade transportation fuels. In the event others in the USA opted to manufacture CA fuels, there are no pipelines into CA, just the Panama Canal for shipping.
    As the LCFS piece of AB 32 goes into effect, the 12 manufacturers of our transportation fuels may be unable to sell what they manufacture.
    To meet the LCFS they will need imported sugar cane from Brazil and the ethanol from the Midwest is too carbon intensive. Brazil barely grows enough for their own consumption.

    With a shortage of sugar cane the CA manufacturers will need to sell what doesn’t meet CA LCFS specifications to Mexico or ship it to other countries.

    When the LCFS occurs, what impact is projected when the daily fuel consumption of 50 million gallons of transportation fuels exceeds what can be manufactured to the LCFS specs?

    Reply this comment
  2. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 5 February, 2013, 13:53

    Excellent analysis, Ron.

    I’m somewhat coarser terms……The full effects of AB32 will be a clusterf*** of unimaginable proportions. The onion is only now being peeled…..

    You think it’s bad now…..wait until we get a major supply interruption. Hello, $8.00/gallon gas!

    Reply this comment
  3. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 5 February, 2013, 14:14

    Mr. Stein, these are all good questions you ask, unfortunately the jackass voters of this state don’t care about the answers. They believe Mary Nichols when she spouts pie in the sky platitudes about saving the world from climate change and making our communities safer and healthier while saving us money. Yes, we truly can have it all here, and saving the planet won’t cost a dime.

    If you want the public’s attention in this state you have to talk in empty headed platitudes and spout wonderful sounding bumper sticker slogans, otherwise the dolts just don’t pay attention. California culture (an oxymoron for sure)is about dreams and fantasies, not cold hard realities.

    Reply this comment
  4. Max the Hippo
    Max the Hippo 5 February, 2013, 14:23

    Mary Nichols is one of the most powerful people in Sacramento politics. This year, Capitol Weekly ranked her #7 on the most powerful list. How in the world is an unelected bureaucrat, funded by taxpayer money, allowed to have that kind of power?

    Considering that most people believe citizens should be able to vote on who represents them, shouldn’t a government official of this level of influence at least need to stand for election?

    Reply this comment
  5. Left of Rio Linda
    Left of Rio Linda 5 February, 2013, 14:31

    I wonder how much fuel was consumed trucking in the tankers of “Kool-aid”.

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 5 February, 2013, 14:42

    I’m somewhat coarser terms……The full effects of AB32 will be a clusterf*** of unimaginable proportions


    Reply this comment
  7. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 5 February, 2013, 15:17

    You could have at least corrected my typo at the beginning, Rex. (In…..not I’m)

    Been gettin’ into the Alpo early?

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 5 February, 2013, 18:01

    Hey, Im a dog!

    Reply this comment
  9. Donkey
    Donkey 5 February, 2013, 20:38

    And a dirty dog at that my puppy! This woman looks like Robert Rizzo’s sister, are they both related to Janet Napalitano? 🙂

    Reply this comment
  10. PJ
    PJ 6 February, 2013, 07:57

    Hey Mary, when does that “cheaper gas” thing start? We’re gaining on $4 a gallon again. Thanks!

    Here’s her new clean freight system:

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 February, 2013, 08:10

    Hey Mary, when does that “cheaper gas” thing start? We’re gaining on $4 a gallon again.
    The main reason gas is NOW OVER $4/gallon in So Cal/Cal is the so called “summer blend” gas, where the refineries tweak the refinery process, aka regulation, to keep our “air clean”, while making us HOMELESS and destitute as a result.

    Reply this comment
  12. Blain
    Blain 6 February, 2013, 08:41

    AB 32 is social engineering at its best. Live in the country on acreage? Forget it. That belongs to nature. You belong in tuna can housing. Have a big pickup truck? You will need to trade that for a Prius.

    Don’t just focus on the cost of gas. Look at what AB 32 is designed to do long term.

    We need to regain control of our government.

    Reply this comment
  13. Hondo
    Hondo 6 February, 2013, 13:20

    When was the last time you saw Mary Nichols take the bus?

    Reply this comment
  14. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 February, 2013, 15:55

    When was the last time you saw Mary Nichols take the bus?
    Do as I say not as I do.

    Reply this comment
  15. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 7 February, 2013, 06:10

    What melted those old glaciers?

    The California “Global” Warming Initiative AB32 and CARB, and others that are blaming humans and CO2 as the source for “arguable” global warming, but the question that needs answering is – what melted those old glaciers?

    2 million years ago an ice age occurred, covering much of our lands. 20,000 years ago, when virtually no humans inhabited the earth, the glaciers melted.

    The Grand Canyon and Yosemite, just to mention a few of our majestic and awe-inspiring national treasures were formed by those melting glaciers.

    Humans and industrialization are the purported cause of today’s CO2, but in the ancient past there were no humans on the planet nor human driven industrialization. Glacier activity seems ultimately driven by the frequency of sunspots, which influences how much solar radiation reaches earth.

    It may be time to rethink AB32 and the CARB polices and fees, as charging humans with the task of resolving a celestial problem is unrealistic.

    Reply this comment
  16. Ron Kilmartin
    Ron Kilmartin 8 February, 2013, 01:17

    The heat “burst” of the 1990s from ground instruments was most likely due entirely (IMHO) to the reduction in number of report ing stations world wide from about 12,400 in 1989 to about 5,500 in 2000. The Russians/Soviets and Canada closed thousands of cold weather stations in this interval, leaving a dominant group of warm stations forming the global averages. (McKitrick, reported in Chris Horner, “Red Hot Lies”. Naturally, the reported global temperatures went up since the smaller matrix consisted largely of warmer and tropical stations. Satellite observations since instituted in 1970 showed essentially no change in global temperature. The 16 years so far of cooling from the high of the 1990s – the 1998 El Nino year was probably continued real cooling continuing the “1ce-age threat” of the 1970s, in response to solar influences, interrupted by the El Nino blip. Bottom line: the fanatics Mary Nichols, Arnold S. Jerry Brown and the EPA bureaucrats have been taking us for a ride to impoverishment based on a foundation of thin air, destroying the economy in the process.

    Reply this comment
  17. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 8 February, 2013, 16:19

    “What melted those old glaciers?”

    You are right on the basics, Ron, but would be wise to understand that the glacial scouring that formed Yosemite Valley occurred not from ONE Ice Age but untold scores of them….retreating and advancing, back and forth, over and over.

    Reply this comment
  18. dltravers
    dltravers 8 February, 2013, 18:33

    It has become a religion to a group of fantics who love to dominate people. How did we turn society on its ear based on unproven theories?

    How is this going to make gas cheaper? Low carbon fuel? All fuels must have carbon in their molecular structure. Feminazi? I hate to use such a crude term but I see it so often in government.

    And their power grows and grows in the state. What happened to real independant leadership? What happened to common sense. We will see no change until we downsize government.

    Reply this comment
  19. Charlie Peters
    Charlie Peters 30 September, 2014, 00:55

    Dr. Stan’s California water supply opinion

    Reply this comment
  20. Charlie Peters
    Charlie Peters 30 September, 2014, 01:01

    Will Mary Nichols and Governor Brown support the UN, Bill Clinton, Gary Condit, Al Gore, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Dianne Feinstein and the World Bank ethanol waiver?

    Reply this comment
  21. Charlie Peters
    Charlie Peters 9 May, 2015, 08:46

    * Do you want $2 Gasoline at the pump?

    * Do you want clean air and water?

    Ethanol waiver and elimination of E-85 flex fuel credit can cut our CO2 transportation pollution over 50%

    Let’s improve performance of CA Climate change law AB 32 (Pavley) in 2015 for future generations

    Reply this comment

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