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Gov. Jerry Brown’s Greenhouse Gas Executive Order Challenged

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Greenhouse Gas Executive Order Challenged

State’s top lawyer: Brown exceeded his authority.

Regular Legal Insurrection readers may recall that prior to signing the new state minimum wage law, California Governor Jerry Brown was heckled at the Paris Climate Conference.

Brown was challenged by a group of protesters opposed to carbon offset programs they said could hurt indigenous people. However, his enthusiasm for imposing draconian rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions has remained quite vigorous.

“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.”

Brown’s zeal was such that about a year ago he issued an executive order setting a goal for greenhouse gas emissions to be 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The California Governor’s mandate was short on specifics about how his new goal will be achieved, and relied on currently undeveloped or uninvented technology to ultimately achieve the goal.

Now, the top lawyer for the California Legislature says Brown exceeded his authority when he attempted to align California with the European Union’s aggressive climate change standards.

…[I]n a letter dated Tuesday, Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine said only the Legislature can require carbon-reduction mandates stricter than those adopted in 2006 and signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Furthermore, she wrote, lawmakers couldn’t grant Brown the authority to impose his own emission target even if they wanted to.

Boyer-Vine’s letter to Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, was provided Thursday to The Associated Press.

“We think the determination of a standard for the statewide (greenhouse gas) emissions limit is a fundamental policy decision that only the Legislature can make,” the letter said.

Brown’s office and the Air Resources Board, which runs the program, had no immediate comment.

What is most disturbing is the continued, regulatory excess that has questionable intentional results and many unintentional ones (e.g., a jump in housing sales…. in Texas).

Related to the air quality in California, there are two conflicting reports that demonstrate how the regulatory game is played in the state.

One new study shows that the state’s cleaner air is a contributing factor to healthier California kids:

Air quality improvements in southern California are tied to improvements in the respiratory health of children in that area, according to a new study.

While the researchers can’t say for sure that cleaner air caused kids’ breathing to improve, they believe their findings strongly support that theory.

“I think we can safely say this is one of the clearest pieces of scientific evidence to say reduction of air pollution can lead to improvement in respiratory health for children,” said study leader Kiros Berhane, from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.

But a week later, two of California’s most prominent cities were derided as being the worst for air pollution in the nation:

Millions of Californians live in places with dirty air, according to an annual report card issued Wednesday that ranks two major urban areas in the state as the nation’s most polluted.

Bakersfield tops the list for having the most unhealthy days from airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces, the American Lung Assn.’s State of the Air 2016 report says. Los Angeles remains the nation’s leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emissions, the report says.

… Eight out of 10 Californians — 32 million people — live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution some time during the year, says the report, using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data for three years ending in 2014.

So, our regulators can use one study to pat themselves on the back and justify the millions spent studying the problems, promulgating the rules, and enforcing the regulations. Then the bureaucrats can use the second study to prove that they need to do even more.

Unless our top lawyer can stop Brown’s executive order, our governor’s delusions of a clean-energy utopia will continue unchecked. The reality will deviate substantially from the theories.

The good news is that Brown will be forced to leave office in 2019, due to term limits. The bad news is that compared to the other leading Democrats in this state, he is icon of sanity and reason.


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‘Executive Order’ is the natural reflex of autocrats (e.g., monarchs, CEOs, etc.) who do not grasp the concept of Separation of Powers and Constitutional Limits in a republican form of government.

Anyone who presumes to run for office in this country, be it municipal, state or federal, should be tested on their ability to cite and expound on Article IV section 4. This goes for voters too.

Characters like Brown and Obama wouldn’t have made it to the ballot if voters had that screening standard in place.

No need to worry about oil usage in CA as people leave they won’t be using the evil black stuff. When only the government is left it can exempt itself and declare victory.

    4fun in reply to Shane. | April 22, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Heck, the oil companies ought to do what Ronnie Barrett did and refuse to sell oil to California. Immediate reduction of greenhouse gases and an explosion in the unicorn population.

    Industry giant Ronnie Barrett made this exact decision regarding the sale and service of Barrett .50 BMG rifles to agencies after California banned the sale of these arms to the general public in 2005, and that sent a message… but a relatively small one. After all, .50 BMG rifles are rare in all but the most deeply-pocketed law enforcement agencies, and are a “nice to have,” but certainly not a “need to have.”

“…autocrats…who do not grasp the concept of Separation of Powers and Constitutional Limits…”

Liberals do not grasp even simpler concepts than that.

If can pick out a new car and send the bill to somebody else, I will go look at a Lexus. If I pay the bill, I will go look at a Corolla. In the first case, I evaluate just the benefit. In the second case, I evaluate the value–benefit at what cost. The first case represents how a child thinks. The second case is how an adult thinks. Jerry Brown, as a hard core liberal, clearly thinks like a child as he does not understand anything about the fact that a benefit always has a cost.

Liberals appear to be intellectually and emotionally stuck at age 12. Don’t you hear them argue that a policy is good if even one person benefits? It matters not that 10,000 people might be harmed by that policy.