Two pieces of green-energy legislation have been derailed by the California legislature, much to Governor Jerry Brown’s consternation.

Senate Bill 350, which would have given one of the most draconian state agencies in the nation epic powers to cut fuel consumption, and a gas tax supposedly for road repair, have gone down to defeat…at least temporarily.

In a major setback for Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate agenda, the governor and legislative leaders on Wednesday abandoned an effort to require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030.

The announcement followed weeks of lobbying by oil companies and resistance not only from Republicans, but moderate Democrats in the Assembly.

For Brown, the failure represented a rare legislative defeat, and on Wednesday there were two: In addition to dropping the petroleum reduction mandate from Senate Bill 350, Brown’s proposal to raise billions of dollars for road repairs appeared to stall.

However, Brown plans to push forward with the implementation of his climate change measures despite the legislatures vote.

“This is one skirmish, but I’ll tell you, it’s increasing the intensity of my commitment to do everything I can to make sure we reduce oil consumption in California,” he said. “My zeal has been intensified to a maximum degree, and nothing, nothing is going to stop this state from pushing forward on our low-carbon fuel standard and our cap-and-trade and our ZEV [zero-emission vehicle] mandate.”

“The only thing we don’t have is a formal statement in law of the 50 percent, but the ARB is committed to that 50 percent goal, and I am committed to backing them up and doing whatever I can,” Brown said. “We might get another bill next year, we might just keep doing it by regulation. California is not going to miss a beat.”

Because if you can’t get people to vote for insanity, you can regulate it in!

One of the few recourses Californians have for over-zealous governors, legislators, and bureaucrats is our proposition system. And voters may get a second vote on Brown’s other big, green dream project — the fiscal fiasco that is the high speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The initial cost estimate in 2008 for the rail was $33 billion, and has since gone up to $68 billion with some projections up to $100 billion. Recent studies even show the entire project could cost as much as $200 billion dollars.

The bill’s author, Senator Andy Vidak, a Republican from the Central Valley, says this effort has bipartisan support. Assembly member Rudy Salas, a Democrat from Bakersfield, is a co-author of the bill. They say voters deserve to be able to vote the project down, because now more of the cost will be shouldered by taxpayers.

Interestingly, the pricey high speed rail system has been the biggest beneficiary of the $2.2 billion in Cap-And-Trade funds now being spent on eco-activism. In fact, the monies essentially form one big, green slush fund that is supporting several other of Brown’s environmental agenda items, including drought reduction efforts.

Brown has about 3 more years in office. I sure hope we can survive these years of intensified, regulatory zeal.


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