The Cost of Being Green

One of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last actions before leaving office was to commute or reduce the manslaughter sentence of Esteban Nunez, the son of a former labor leader, Assembly Speaker and political ally Fabien Nunez. His action lead to a reduction of Esteban’s prison sentence from 16 years to 7.

You may remember Fabien Nunez. He authored Assembly Bill 32, the so- called “Global Warning Solutions Act” which authorized the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to set the scoping plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to 1990 levels via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions. Rules and mechanisms adopted by ARB are to take effect by January 1, 2012; the deadline for achieving the 2020 GHB emissions cap is December 31, 2020.

You’ve probably heard it referred to more frequently as “cap and trade” regulation. It’s been getting a lot of press lately e.g. a court in San Francisco has ordered further study of AB32 after environmentalists sued ARB saying failure to consider alternatives violated state environmental law.

The Cap-and-trade program gives polluters, such as a utility or refinery, a state permit allowing them to send a specified amount of carbon dioxide and other green house gases into the air. If the company emits less than its permit, it can sell its “carbon credits” to another company which has already used up its allotted amount of pollution, the logic of which I fail to comprehend.

What you may not have heard about, however, is the “Green Water Tax Proposal” drafted by students and consultants at the U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, reviewed by PUC staff and allegedly posted on their web site. (It’s not there now.).

The $3.4 billion surcharge or tax on energy related costs to pump and treat water would be implemented in 2012 in order to meet the administrative costs of implementing AB32. ( Note: It takes $1.1 billion to operate the entire State Water Project each year and the annual budget for the CA Dept of Water Resources is $3.6 billion.)

As Shakespeare put it, it appears that there maybe something rotten in the State of Denmark.

No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply