CA regulators crack down on fuel carbon

MIAMI - JULY 11: Exhaust flows out of the tailpipe of a vehicle at , "Mufflers 4 Less", July 11, 2007 in Miami, Florida. Florida Governor Charlie Crist plans on adopting California's tough car-pollution standards for reducing greenhouse gases under executive orders he plans to sign Friday in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the wake of a big legislative setback, Gov. Jerry Brown’s wish to use regulations to cut fuel emissions is swiftly coming true.

This month, Democratic lawmakers couldn’t muster enough votes to slash gasoline use by half within 15 years. Now, the state Air Resources Board has taken action widely seen as compensatory. “The action, coming two weeks after a stinging defeat for Gov. Jerry Brown’s planned 50 percent cut in petroleum use by 2030, signaled his administration’s determination to press forward with an aggressive environmental agenda through the regulatory process rather than by legislation,” noted the New York Times.

Resurgent regulations

In a unanimous, 9-0 vote, the board chose to reactivate California’s standards on low-carbon fuel, created years ago but recently held in legal limbo. The regime constituted “the first regulation of its kind in the U.S. when it was established in a 2007 executive order by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,” as the Wall Street Journal reported. “It had been frozen since 2013, as the state made revisions to the law following a court challenge.”

“The California regulation further tightens the state’s emissions regulations, already the most stringent in the U.S. It requires fuel makers to reduce emissions by developing cleaner fuels or adopting greater use of biofuels. It also requires fuel producers to take into account all emissions for delivering gasoline, diesel or biofuels to California customers.”

Tweaks to the rules made in the wake of the court challenge included “streamlining the application process for alternative fuel producers seeking a carbon intensity score,” according to Ethanol Producer Magazine.

The interventions quickly drew howls from the oil and gas industry, which views the rules’ requirements as unattainable. Tiffany Roberts, director for fuels and climate policy at the Western States Petroleum Association, told the Sacramento Business Journal they weren’t feasible, suggesting that “even if oil businesses are able to incorporate those pollution-cutting methods, they still cannot meet the program’s aggressive standards.” Defenders of the plan, meanwhile, focused on its perceived benefits. “It will drive new technologies, not only in transportation fuel but in hybrid cars, electric cars and other means of transportation,” Pacific Ethanol spokesman Paul Koehler told the Business Journal.

Political heat

Industry interests haven’t fueled the only criticism of Brown’s regulatory approach, however. Earlier this month, the administration heard out the complaints of a gaggle of state lawmakers — including Democrats — frustrated by the activism and assertiveness of the Air Resources Board. Their debate with Brown “turns on questions of how the state can meet its environmental goals with the right balance between the executive branch, which prizes the ability to act independently, and state lawmakers, who want their own stamp on government programs,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

That disagreement came to a head amid the collapse of the Senate’s planned 50 percent cut in statewide petroleum use. “If the board made decisions adversely impacting constituents, many of whom have already been struggling economically, the consequences could be dire,” uneasy Democrats feared, as CalWatchdog previously noted. “What’s more, angry voters would have little way to respond but at the ballot box.”

While state Senate pro Tem Kevin de Leon portrayed the cut’s failure as the consequence of a massive industry campaign, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, instead focused on the Air Resources Board’s “tremendous arrogance,” the Times reported, “noting that he’s never taken campaign money from the oil industry but remains skeptical about the measure.”

But the board’s recent successes at advancing its agenda suggested its influence was set to grow. Tipped by concerned scientists, it launched the investigation into the Volkswagen Group of America that revealed the auto company’s secret years-long use of “a defeat device to circumvent CARB and […] EPA emission test procedures,” as emissions compliance chief Annette Hebert revealed.

12 comments

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  1. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 1 October, 2015, 08:58

    Big Brother wears green and is a enviromentalists

    Reply this comment
    • Dork
      Dork 1 October, 2015, 13:50

      I wish these wussy CEO’s had half the courage and intestinal fortitude that Howard Hughes had. JUST SAY NO, and STOP making ANY “Special Blend” tell California to Make their own gas. And only sell to other States.

      Reply this comment
  2. billy4619
    billy4619 1 October, 2015, 09:35

    how, in ameica, did we end up with a bunch of un-elected socialists with so much power. this is the democrats war on the poor

    Reply this comment
  3. Dude
    Dude 1 October, 2015, 10:35

    Say goodbye to your cozy jobs Dimocrats. You may just be driving California back into the GOP’s hands. The one thing that people hate the most is a government that forgets it serves the people, Not the other way around. We, not the oil industry, made ourselves loud and clear when you tried to dictate how much gas we could use. It seems Governor Moonbeam still hasn’t acknowledged the fact that he is a public servant, and not a dictator. Obama has the same ailment.

    Reply this comment
  4. Terry
    Terry 1 October, 2015, 11:04

    Gov Brown the dictator is at it again. He acts like a spoiled child that did not get his way. Gov Brown you work for We the People but it you and Obama forget that.
    It is time to recall another gov. Why he was elected the second time is beyond any intelligent thought. But this is Ca the land beyond any intelligence.

    Reply this comment
    • Bubba
      Bubba 4 October, 2015, 14:19

      Isn’t this Moonbeams 4th time at the Helm?
      Not living here (luckily) during his first time wasn’t he just as goofy then? Hence his nick name Moonbeam?

      Reply this comment
  5. Just Another Disgruntled Citizen
    Just Another Disgruntled Citizen 1 October, 2015, 12:28

    It’s called Progressivism.

    It came to America under the guise of Democratic-Republican Societies started by none other than Edmund Genet of French Revolution fame (The Founders at Home by Myron Magnet). he had to leave France because things finally got too hot for him.

    These societies were later called Republican for short, then turned into the Democratic Party. You know, the one the pro-slavery Southerners preferred to any other.

    But Progressivism infected conservative Americans, too.

    It is based on the notion that Liberty is Freedom from any kind of control. Meaning, no self-restraint in individuals and no limits on government power. Also known as Anarchy and Tyranny.

    But, if as its says in the Declaration of Independence, that the fundamental purpose of all just government is to protect the Liberty of the People, then that definition of Liberty and Freedom is illogical and unworkable.

    The correct definition of Liberty is Freedom and Independence. Freedom being the absence of external control and Independence being self-control, self-government, or self-reliance & self-restraint.

    In that definition is the Principle of Reciprocity, otherwise known as the Golden Rule.

    Progressivism believes that the end justifies the means, that government knows best what is good for people, that the people’s rights come from government, etc. This is the kind of thinking that is bringing back Redevelopment (the use of public money and eminent domain for private projects); that brought us Prohibition, that brought us Obamacare, that is destroying our beautiful deserts with humongous and damaging solar projects, that brings us a government policy allowing wind-power projects that kill birds, that says there is no reason to have limits on government spending or debt, that the people exist to serve the state, and so forth. The greenie movement is Progressive. And so is the movement that says it is okay for corporations to pollute the environment because they are creating jobs!

    This both-sides-of-the-aisle factor is a feature of Progressivism.

    So, when you read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and discover that he did not trust businessmen and that he believed whenever any two were gathered together they were in a conspiracy against the public, but that he also recommended that because the thing they do best is making money and the economic activity generated by their ambitions is good for society
    the best government policy for a prosperous economy is to let them. Not to interfere by favoring special interests or trying to control outcomes (both are ancient practices). But that is not all he said.

    He also said that government should regulate business only to protect the consumer.

    I think he would have said that requiring the food industry to label their products so consumers would know what they were buying is not an unreasonable demand. Consumer choice isn’t if the buyer can’t figure out what he’s getting.

    Progressivism in all its forms is an enemy of Liberty.

    The duty of a Senator is to protect the Liberty of the People.
    California Senate Motto

    Reply this comment
  6. bob
    bob 1 October, 2015, 13:30

    It’s Brown Clown’s world and we are all just visitors.

    Bend over and grab yer ankles, boys….Jerry’s coming.

    Reply this comment
  7. Sean
    Sean 2 October, 2015, 04:00

    There are serious technical issues with “low carbon fuel”. Methane or natural gas can work but the tanks are heavy, high pressure cylinders that don’t give you much range. Honda was the only automaker to offer this option but dropped it. Biofuels should be classified as a crime against humanity and nature. California perpetual water shortages will limit state production and they’ll likely be importing sugar beet alcohol from Idaho, distilled using hydropower that would otherwise be exported as low cost electricity to California. Brazil’s sugar cane based alcohol also uses less energy to produce but you sacrifice wild lands in South America. Palm oil for biodiesel is another popular choice but it’s production is devastating Indonesian rain forests. Low carbon fuel and cellulose based ethanol are not yet technically feasible on a scale that California needs despite what any legislation or regulation says? High prices and environmental carnage will be all these arrogant politicians get from pushing this rope.

    Reply this comment
  8. Gonzo
    Gonzo 2 October, 2015, 13:23

    I just wish at some point the oil refinerers just went on strike/slow down. Lets say stop delivering gas to most of LA and the Bay Area and Sack town. In most real life (not govt life) situations decisions are base on a cost benefit analysis ie……how much can we expect global temperatures to go down as a result of carbon restrictions. But that’s an argument the greens/progs don’t want to have.

    Reply this comment
  9. bob
    bob 2 October, 2015, 20:14

    Hey James,

    Why do you always have that horrible picture of exhaust when you talk about the CO2 dictates?

    You are talking about CO2 not pollutants like those in that picture.

    Reply this comment

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