When the government knocks at your door and says, “We’re here to help,” it’s rarely true. Like so many bills, California Senate Bill 350 has good intentions. It wants to “improve public health by setting new standards for California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, reducing petroleum use, and increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings.” The bill also promises to “Create jobs, grow the state’s economy.”
All nice, but will we really see this happen?
I’m a fiscal conservative, but a “green” kind of guy. I also like to examine bills to see what they’ll really do. I also have issues with the political elite who don’t have to worry about the issues mentioned in this bill, since they get a government car with a government credit card. I also have issues when wealthy elitists like Al Gore and his friends push for legislation like this. Gore and his wealthy elitist friends don’t have to worry about such restrictions because they have the money to avoid them. They can also buy carbon credits to offset their lifestyles. The average citizen feels the real impact of the restrictions they want to impose on the rest of us.
So with my noted disdain for politicians and wealthy elitists, onto the bill. Two issues:
1) One method for reaching the bill’s intended goals could include reducing growth in vehicle-miles traveled to 4 percent. The California Air Resources Board could be given the authority to ration gas, place mobility restrictions on state residents, place surcharges on family mini-vans, trucks and SUVs, and even monitor individuals’ fuel consumption records.
I took a dream job that gave me an 81-mile commute. Restrictions on the miles I drive (the kind of restrictions aren’t mentioned in the bill, but I will assume that it would be a “fee” for miles over a specified amount), plus higher fuel costs, would cause me to look for housing closer to work (financially unfeasible) or quit the job and hope for something closer. What if I can’t find new, closer employment? Will the government come to my assistance to help me pay for the added cost of my commute because my standard of living has dropped? What about vacations? Will my family be able to — financially — explore California and, if not, how will the tourism industry be impacted by the thousands of others in the same position?
2) Another of the bill’s intents — Continue providing strong market support for zero emission vehicles and renewable fuel production through carbon pricing and other incentives. Okay, but unless your vehicle is 100 percent powered by solar panels, to be zero emissions there has to be a plant somewhere that is producing the power for your vehicle. We’ve seen restrictions placed on “clean” alternative plants, mainly on where they can be located. If we can’t develop those forms of “clean” energy, are we heading to blackouts due to the shortage of power?
So as oil prices drop, California fuel prices continue to rise. That, in itself, makes us a less viable state in which to do business. Maybe if this was a national policy, it would make more sense, but California tends to be at the forefront of new ideas — and it’s obvious with many of those bills, their true cost to the public really isn’t thought out (think High Speed Rail). Sacramento has been in the lead on dealing with climate change, but what is really needed is for our legislators to deal with creating a strong and lasting economy with good jobs. This bill does not do that, in fact, it will hurt the low income the most. They tend to drive longer distances for employment and cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles.
I urge all to contact their Assembly Member or State Senator and urge them to oppose SB 350.