Air Resources Board corp facing open meetings

May 30, 2013

By Katy Grimes

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Stop the presses! A really good Republican bill just passed the Assembly 63-0. What? How?

AB 527 by Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, would repeal the existing exemption of the Western Climate Initiative, Inc., and its appointees, from the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act when performing their duties.

Thus far, WCI, Inc. an arm of the California Air Resources Board registered in Delaware, has been operating in secrecy.

Immediately after its passage, a very happy Gains explained more about her bill to me.

“First, the bill prohibits the Air Resources Board from making a payment to WCI, Inc., the out of state company charged with implementing California’s cap-and-trade, unless the Air Resources Board certifies that WCI, Inc. complies with the provisions of the California Open Meetings Act and Public Records Act insuring that all meetings and actions are subject to public scrutiny.”

“Secondly, it makes WCI, Inc. subject to audit by the California State Auditor. In the event of an audit, ARB may not make any payments to WCI, Inc. unless WCI, Inc. complies with the audit.”

 “This is giving the public trust back to voters,” Gaines said.  This will be a great start to bringing transparency to yet another form of government waste.”

What is the WCI, Inc.?

According to their website, WCI, Inc. was created to develop a compliance tracking system that tracks both allowances and offsets for the CARB’s can and trade program. WCI, Inc. will also administer allowance auctions; and conduct market monitoring of allowance auctions and offset certificate trading.

According to Gaines, existing law imposes conditions on the Western Climate Initiative, Inc., which is a nongovernmental entity created to assist the state board in the implementation of the act.

The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, requires that all meetings of a state body be open and public. But the law creating the WCI, Inc. exempted the corporation, and its appointees from the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.

Gaines’ bill would repeal that exemption.

Interestingly,  WCI, Inc. was coincidentally registered in Delaware.

A little CARB History

In November 2011, the California Air Resources Board  formed WCI, Inc., a non-profit corporation, formed to provide administrative and technical services to support the implementation of state and provincial greenhouse gas emissions trading programs.

According to their website, WCI, Inc. will develop a compliance tracking system that tracks both allowances and offsets; administer allowance auctions; and conduct market monitoring of allowance auctions and offset certificate trading.

The Board of Directors is made up of public officials from Quebec and British Columbia, and public officials from the State of California.

California officials include:

Matt Rodriguez, Secretary for Environmental Protection, Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkelely, and Kip Lipper, senior staff member to California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and D-Sacramento, often called the “41st senator,”  and referred to as the godfather of California’s environmental bills.

No environmental legislation passes, or gets killed in the Legislature, without Lipper’s approval.

“Lipper is officially classified as an “environmental consultant” to the state Senate.  Any environmental bill that has come out of the Legislature in the last decade has only done so because Lipper allowed it, or because he made it happen,” I wrote in CEQA reforms blow smog over state. “When a bill becomes ‘Lipperized,’ it is altered into a far different bill than the original. Or the bill will die in a committee upon Lipper’s orders.”

And Lipper is now on the WCI, Inc. Board of Directors.

According to bill analysis:

Existing law sets out the authority and duties of the California State Auditor in conducting audits and surveys of specified entities. Existing law authorizes and provides access to the California State Auditor and his or her authorized representatives to examine and reproduce various records of any agency of the state. This bill would require a contract between the state and the Western Climate Initiative, Incorporated, to be subject to audit by the California State Auditor.

Bringing in the State Auditor is a great idea. The Air Resources Board could use a dose of this transparency as well.

“The Air Resources Board, with the authority of AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act, has already started down the path of abuse of power,” Gaines said recently on her Assembly website. “I have always been opposed the high cost and ambiguity of AB 32, but now that it is being fully implemented my primary goal is to expose the outrageous cost to job creators in this state.”

3 comments

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  1. loufca
    loufca 30 May, 2013, 16:28

    Good for Rep. Gaines and all the other voters who supported this law.

    Now, this Lipper guy is probably double or triple dipping and needs to go…

    Reply this comment
  2. ECK
    ECK 30 May, 2013, 21:19

    What?? All the ARB has to do is certify? “Sure, don’t worry, they comply. Trust us.” Oh, as to the audit provisions – “everything’s just great, nothing to audit”. Nothing to see here, move along. How about requiring an audit? Hmmm?

    Thanks Beth, but isn’t this just letting our state “overseers” just saying the former? – “nothing to see here – move along”

    Reply this comment
  3. ECK
    ECK 30 May, 2013, 21:27

    Sorry, but Kudos to Assemblywoman Beth Gaines for including repeal of the open meeting act exemption. In this “banana republic” state of ours it’s easy to get sidetracked on the 1st outrage.

    Reply this comment

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