Just So You Know
By: Tim Mc Crery
The “Pain At The Gas Pump” piece by California State Senator Joel Anderson (Rep 38th District) that appeared in the August 27 edition of the Alpine Sun also appeared in many other publications throughout California. It is little more than a press release that summarizes petroleum industry talking points in opposition to SB 350, “The Clean Energy And Pollution Reduction Act Of 2015.” There are some things that readers should know about SB 350 and Senator Anderson
California petroleum giants like Chevron, Tesoro, Valero, and Occidental Petroleum, along with associated groups such as the Western States Petroleum Association, Global Automakers, and auto insurance companies have been pouring millions of dollars into politicians and misinformation campaigns in order defeat legislation like this. These groups have good reason to be fearful because California is the single largest petroleum market in the country, a leader in environmental and alternative energy innovation, and a majority of California voters believes that the effects of emissions-induced climate change are already upon us. Any measure that would decrease the dependency on, or consumption of, fossil fuels is a threat to corporate profits plain and simple.
Here is just some of the misinformation being put forward by the petroleum industry and its interested partners:
-SB 350 is known as “The California Gas Restriction Act of 2015.”
-If the bill is passed there will be mandatory gas rationing.
-State gas police will hack your automobile’s onboard computers to monitor fuel
-Democrats have stolen funds earmarked for infrastructure improvements, so new
crippling taxes will be imposed on gasoline to replace the misappropriated funds.
-California will have its petroleum supply immediately cut by 50%.
-Motorists will have to pay a special tax for having mini vans and other types of “special
use” vehicles. (There is no mention of fines in the bill)
-State Democrats have bypassed the electorate in order to force this bill upon the public.
(Actually the bill is to facilitate AB 32, an act that Republican Governor, Arnold
Schwarzenegger signed into law in 2006.)
Here is the essence of what SB 350 aims to do:
-Facilitate implementation of AB 32, the “California Global Warming Solutions Act of
-”Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.” Two
“Pillars” in achieving this are:
-50% reduction in petroleum used in vehicles
-50% use of renewable energy
Senator Anderson assures the reader that he is “...fighting hard in Sacramento against these increased taxes and regulations that only punish hardworking Californians...” As previously pointed out, the taxes and regulations he purports to be fighting against do not appear in the bill. An examination of his voting record and chief campaign contributors makes it clear that he is fighting first and foremost for corporate interests. According to the most recent “California Environmental Scorecard,” Anderson receives a lifetime rating of 8% (2006-present) when it comes to his support for environmental measures. (ecovote.org)
Anderson recently hosted the annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in San Diego. This is corporate and privately funded mega lobby that represents interests such as big oil, big pharma, big tobacco, and the Koch Brothers. This unofficial group actually writes self-benefiting legislation that cooperating politicians submit as their own. Anderson was recently honored as the council’s legislator of the year. (Valley Road Runner, Thursday, September 03, 2015)
When questioned about his ties to corporate interests the Senator has been famously mute. Public records show that nearly 3/4 of his campaign contributions have come from outside of his district, and that he has been fined for campaign finance violations. Anderson will be termed-out of office after the current legislative session. He now has his eye on Diane Jacob’s County Supervisor’s seat, but serious questions have already arisen over the flood of outside money that has come into his campaign coffers.
In my opinion there is no debate over the need for comprehensive climate legislation in California. There should be debate on the wisdom, practicality, and efficacy of any particular proposals, however. There are legitimate questions as to whether all of the stipulations outlined in SB 350 can be implemented, and if they are wise and cost effective. Our energy should be focused on answering questions such as these. Self-serving moneyed interests and their politicians wish only to add noise, misinformation, and confusion to draw our attention and energy away from the best interests of the public.
SB 350 has already passed the State Senate, and is now being debated in the Assembly. For the best interests of the public, read the bill itself at: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=2015...
Tim McCrerey is a retired Community College and High School Teacher who lives in Alpine.