Our View: California greenhouse gas laws must stay intact
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 23:10
Take one look up into the Long Beach sky, and it reminds you how polluted our air is. Head to the beach, and try to walk barefoot without stepping on glass, cigarette butts and Styrofoam. You can’t. Drive on one of our streets after it starts raining — which is a rarity — and you can feel your wheels slip on the slick oil beneath your tires.
Let’s face it. California, and Long Beach in particular, is polluted. It is one of the most polluted states in the entire nation. That is why our state legislature imposed the strictest greenhouse gas laws in the U.S.
Recently, the constitutionality of a part of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act has been questioned, specifically the “Low Carbon Fuel Standard.” Those affected by this part of the law include the farming, trucking and gas industries.
According to the Carbon Air Resources Board, the legislation’s goal is to reduce petroleum intake in California by 20 percent. It also aims to achieve the 2020 goal by accounting for one-tenth of California’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Now, this all seems fine and dandy on the surface. California is a leader in fighting global warming. However, at the same time, these laws are making it strenuous for out-of-state businesses to compete with in-state businesses.
Because imposing strict laws on carbon emissions makes production more expensive, other states without gas emission laws like California’s laws do not meet the “carbon intensity score” that the state uses to measure.
Out-of-state refineries and ethanol producers says this violates the Constitution’s commerce clause by restricting interstate commerce. They say it favors California businesses that must comply with the greenhouse gas laws because they are located where the laws applies.
In a sense, they are right. Our state cannot use out-of-state product because they do not meet our standards. However, coming from people who live in California, where some days you are choking for some fresh air, it is hard to give a damn whether our state’s refineries have an advantage or not.
California desperately needs to reduce its carbon footprint, and taking back legislation that is working towards doing that would be a mistake.
We do not need more out-of-state imports to supply demand; we have plenty of options within our states as it is. This is about making things cheaper and more fair for out-of-state businesses.
The goals of the global warming laws in California are to reduce the pollution in California to 1990 levels by the year 2020. In order for us to achieve this we have to make some drastic changes on how things are run.
If that means California has to deal with the problem on it’s own then so be it. We are the ones melting in the 90-degree weather in the middle of October.