The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) is a cabinet-level agency that oversees and coordinates the state's environmental regulatory programs through the activities of the Air Resources Board, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the Department of Pesticide Regulation. The agency does not set policy or direct the decisions of entities it oversees on a day-to-day basis, but it does focus their efforts on the goals of the administration while conducting budget, personnel management and strategic planning reviews. The agency is also charged with specific programmatic responsibilities by the Legislature, including environmental justice and enforcement.
California laid the foundation for Cal/EPA in 1961 under Democratic Governor Pat Brown when a major government reorganization included creation of the Resources Agency. Most of the state's existing environmental programs were placed within the agency along with traditional natural resources departments and commissions.
Water rights had been an issue in the state from its earliest years and The Water Commission Act of 1913 laid the groundwork for the initial environmental protection measures that would follow. In 1949, the Legislature passed the Dickey Water Pollution Act that established regional boards to handle pollution abatement. Recognition of water issues beyond pollution quickly grew and the State Water Board was created in 1967.
That same year, California combined two Department of Health bureaus to establish the Air Resources Board. The board continued the work begun in 1948 by Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit, known as the father of air pollution control.
The environmental movement of the '60s brought new focus to a wide range of ecological challenges and the efforts culminated in establishment of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970 during the Nixon administration.
In 1972, California established the Hazardous Waste Control Program (which later became the Department of Toxic Substances Control) and the Solid Waste Management Board. Pesticide control, which was first addressed in a 1901 California law, was revisited numerous times over the years, including landmark legislation in 1969 and 1970 that required “thorough evaluation" of pesticides before registration and gave the California Department of Agriculture authority to establish criteria for studies to be submitted by pesticide manufacturers.
The EPA created a framework for environmental oversight and incentives for states to match the effort. Governor Jerry Brown proposed the California Environmental Quality Agency in 1975 but it met with a chilly reception in the Legislature. In its stead, the governor created a cabinet-level Secretary of Environmental Affairs by executive order, who served in a dual role as chief environmental adviser to the governor and chairman of the state Air Resources Board.
The Legislature formally recognized this dual role in 1981 and environmental issues continued to grow in prominence. But while the Environmental Affairs Agency continued in form under George Deukmejian, the Republican governor was committed to reducing the size of government and the agency remained simply a creature of the executive in the '80s, unrecognized by statute.
The agency, though restricted in its growth, added technical staff for hazardous waste management, toxic site cleanups and environmental assessment. The secretary administered offshore oil and gas mitigation programs, providing grants to coastal areas and the commercial fishing industry.
Individual environmental programs continued to be introduced and revamped, including the Clean Air Act, the Hazardous Waste Management Act, Proposition 65, the Toxic Pits Cleanup Act, the Underground Storage Tank Laws of 1983, and the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act.
Californians were firmly committed to environmental issues and in 1990 both candidates for governor pledged to create a full-featured cabinet-level environmental agency. Cal/EPA was born in 1991 amid fervid debate over costs and myriad structural and policy issues. While the Legislature would continue to debate a number of the particulars for years, Governor Pete Wilson's executive order creating the agency was approved on July 14, 1991.
Brought into the fold were the already existing: Air Resources Board, the Integrated Waste Management Board, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Control Boards, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment.
The Integrated Waste Management Board was abolished in 2010 and its programs, resources and responsibilities were transferred to the newly created Department of Resources Recycling and Cal/EPA.
The History of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA website)
Integrated Waste Management Board (Ebudget)
Cal/EPA and its approximately 4,350 scientists, engineers, physicians, lawyers, managers and staff administers the state's environmental protections programs through five boards, departments and offices.
The agency negotiated passage of California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law known as AB 32, the Global Warning Solutions Act of 2006. The agency, in 2007, launched the Green Chemistry Initiative, seeks to reduce pollution at its source by encouraging the design of products and processes that minimize the use of hazardous substances.
Air Resources Board sets statewide standards for clean air and regulates emissions from motor vehicles, fuels and consumer products. The board monitors pollution and administers regulatory programs in conjunction with 35 local air quality districts. It is also the lead state agency on global warming.
Accomplishments: The board has battled the auto industry and led the nation in establishing clean car standards. It adopted the first low carbon fuel standards, with a goal of reducing diesel exhaust emissions 85% by 2020. The board also implements California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law known as AB 32, the Global Warning Solutions Act of 2006.
Department of Pesticide Regulation evaluates the effectiveness and potential health risks of pesticide products. It also licenses pesticide applicators and oversees pesticide enforcement by local agricultural commissioners.
Accomplishments: The department established and funded the Pest Management Alliance in 1997 to promote programs that reduce pesticide risks to human health and the environment. It put together a database of information by 2000 on the 200 pesticides of highest health concern and completed risk assessments of the highest-risk chemicals and made much of its information available to the public. The department has fostered regulations that greatly reduce the use of fumigant emissions; California was the first state to reduce volatile organic compound emissions in pesticides.
Department of Toxic Substances Control regulates handling and disposal of hazardous wastes, oversees the cleanup of contaminated sites and promotes pollution prevention.
Accomplishments: The department averages 125 brownfield cleanups a year, returning contaminated properties to reproductive use. Its activities include technical assistance and cleanups at military bases, including Fort Ord, Beale Air Force Base and Camp Pendleton. For more than a decade, the department’s schools program has evaluated and addressed contamination on more than 1,600 education properties.
State Water Resources Control Board regulates pollutants discharged into the state's ground water, rivers, lakes and the Pacific Ocean. The board, which includes nine regional water quality control boards, also issues water rights permits and licenses.
Accomplishments: The board has spent two decades providing money and resources—$250 million a year through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund—for construction of waste water treatment plants, sewage systems, storm water treatment and collection basins. It oversees a program that has spent $2.9 billion over 20 years to clean up petroleum contamination from leaking underground storage tanks at 6,500 sites. The board’s Decision 1631 in 1994 ended decades of conflict over Mono Lake, and led to a major restoration effort.
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment conducts scientific risk assessments of chemicals, which are the foundation for many of the state's environmental regulatory programs.
Accomplishments: The office implements Proposition 65, which informs Californians about exposures to substances known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive threats while protecting the state’s drinking water sources from these substances. It conducts the risk assessment on diesel exhaust and second-hand smoke that regulators use to control these contaminants. The office pioneered the use of research showing that cancer-causing agents affect children differently than they affect adults. And it develops Public Health Goals, specific scientific standards, for contaminants in drinking water.
Office of the Secretary does not direct the day-to-day policies and decisions of the constituent entities it oversees, it does conduct budget and management reviews, and coordinates enforcement, information management, strategic planning and pollution prevention.
In addition, the Legislature has given the secretary specific responsibilities. The office oversees the Unified Program environmental emergency response programs, the Children’s Environmental Health Program, Enforcement of environmental laws, the Environmental Justice Program, the Environmental Management System that reduces the agency’s own ecological footprint, the interdepartmental Environmental Protection Indicators for California project and the Quality Improvement Partnership for promoting efficiencies at the local level.
About Cal/EPA (Cal/EPA website)
Cal/EPA Office of the Secretary (Cal/EPA website)
Cal/EPA’s 20 Years of Environmental Excellence (Cal/EPA website) (pdf)
2010 Legislative Summary (Cal/EPA website) (pdf)
The State Water Control Resources Board and the Air Resources Board consume the vast majority of Cal/EPA’s budget. The water board was to receive 44.1% of the agency’s $1.74 billion budget in 2011-12 and the air resources board was slated to get 37.4%.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control got 11.2%, the Department of Pesticide Regulation got 4.7% and Environmental Health Hazard Assessment received 1.1%.
The office of the secretary spent about $20.7 million (1.2% of the agency’s budget).
Most of Cal/EPA’s budget is derived from fees and fines and is expected to be heavily impacted by the economic downturn over time. Only about 3% of the budget comes from the state General Fund.
Budget Home Page (Cal/EPA website)
Environmental Protection Budget Summary (Ebudget) (pdf)
3-Year Budget (pdf)
Cal/EPA Wins Legal Battle over Auto Emissions
California has sought reductions in greenhouse gases from light-duty vehicles since the 2002 passage of AB 1493, the Pavley Global Warming Bill. Automakers tried to block the legislation in court but lost in 2007. The federal EPA granted California a waiver from its rules in 2009 after President Obama took office—after first rejecting the request in 2007—which allowed the state to press ahead with a tougher standard.
But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Automobile Dealers Association picked up where the automakers left off and filed suit challenging the EPA’s decision. In the meantime, 14 states adopted California’s emission standard. In May 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the chamber and auto dealers lacked the standing to challenge the regulations because “the Chamber has not identified a single member who was or would be injured by EPA's waiver decision.”
The auto dealers association bemoaned the “overlapping” rules from state and federal regulators and predicted they would make “it more likely that automakers will be forced to build a fleet that does not match consumer demand.”
With the court decision behind them, it was expected that the federal EPA and Transportation Department—after coordinating with Cal/EPA—would announce proposed emission standards for model years 2017-2025 in September 2011. The new standard was expected to be 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, but delays pushed back the announcement.
EPA Delays Auto Emissions, Mileage Rule Rollout (Ben Geman, The Hill)
California's Right to Exceed Federal Auto Emissions Standards Is Upheld (by Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times)
Federal Appeals Court Upholds California's EPA Auto Emissions Exception (by Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMC.net)
Court Rejects Move to Stop Calif Clean Car Program (by Tom Doggett, Reuters)
E.P.A. Allows California Emissions Rules (by Kate Galbraith, New York Times)
Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards (Pew Center on Global Climate Change)
Chromium 6 and the OEHHA
A decade after release of the movie “Erin Brockovich” made famous a town’s contamination from the deadly chemical hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium 6, and seven years after a state-mandated deadline for establishing a safe drinking water standard for it, Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released its public health goal of 0.6 parts per billion in 2011.
It is only the first step in a rigorous process for developing a regulatory standard for the cancer-causing Chromium 6, which would be the first in the nation.
Critics of the delay blamed corporate interests, Cal/EPA leadership and the governor’s office, among others. In 2009, under the guise of cutting government waste, the governor’s office proposed eliminating the OEHHA, known as the science arm of Cal/EPA.
The office has a tiny budget but a lot of powerful enemies. Over the years, OEHHA has targeted the styrene industry and its ubiquitous Styrofoam product, big tobacco over its carcinogenic second-hand, Dow Chemical for bisphenol A (“birth defects or reproductive harm”) and PG&E for Chromium 6. The office often finds itself in conflict with other government agencies over its reviews of their risk assessments.
In February 2011, a who’s who of anti-OEHHA industry supporters sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging that the office suspend all of its pending decisions until it can be determined “whether these actions are truly based on the best available science.”
CAL EPA Releases Overdue Public Health Goal for “Erin Brockovich” Water Contaminant (Clean Water Action)
Chromium-6: Timeline for Drinking Water Regulations (California Department of Public Health)
Chromium 6 PHG Talking Points (Burbank Water and Power) (pdf)
Hexavalent Chromium in Drinking Water: Welcome News from California (by Gina Solomon, California Progress Report)
Saving Environmental Health Leadership in California (by Gina Solomon, Natural Resources Defense Council staff blog)
Rocket Fuel in Drinking Water
Perchlorate is a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares and other explosives. It is not a carcinogen like Chromium 6 of Erin Brockovich fame. It blocks the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland, which then interferes with the production of crucial hormones that regulate metabolism. It is especially hard on fetuses, infants and nursing mothers.
Perchlorate is found in abundance in California drink water. In Southern California, perchlorate has been found in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties. Sacramento and Santa Clara have contaminated drinking water wells up north.
There is no federal standard for perchlorate in drinking water. But in March 2004, Cal/EPA called for a public health goal of no more than 6 parts per billion. A number of government contractors linked to sites that were sources of pollution, like Lockheed Martin, Kerr-McGee, Aerojet, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas said that the government had acted prematurely before the scientific community had properly weighed in.
James Strock, Cal/EPA’s first secretary from 1991 to1997 but then in the employ of a nonprofit organization supported by the contractors, argued that his old agency should have waited for a report due out later in 2004 from the National Academy of Sciences. But the Cal/EPA recommendation became the official limit in 2007.
Three years later, with Barstow residents dashing to the store for bottled water after wells in the area were found contaminated, scientists for the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) disputed the state’s pollution standard.
“Most of these chemicals, we’ve been living happily with them for 50 or 60 years,” ACSH Executive Director Gilbert Ross assured the public. He said perchlorate could safely be present at 100 parts per billion and pose no threat to residents. “Cal EPA has a bias towards calling substances toxins and a mission to cleanse out every last molecule, no matter the cost/benefit equation and no matter the actual health threat,” Ross said.
ACSH is heavily funded by the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment proposed in December 2010 that the standard be toughened up to 1 part per billion.
Non-Profit Organizations Receiving Corporate Funding (Integrity in Science)
Organization Says Perchlorate Fears Are Exaggerated (by Karen Jonas, Desert Dispatch)
Getting Rocket Fuel out of Drinking Water: Another Step Forward in California (by Gina Solomon, Natural Resources Defense Council staff blog)
State Limits Rocket Fuel in Water (by Jane Kay, San Francisco Chronicle)
Lobbyists and Textbooks
Amid a nationwide debate over the use of plastic shopping bags, the California Department of Education turned to Cal/EPA for help in shaping its textbooks’ content on the subject . . . and Cal/EPA turned to the American Chemistry Council, which was happy to include positive messages about the toxic product.
A private consultant hired by school officials in 2009 added a section entitled “The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags” to an 11th grade teacher’s edition textbook focused on environmental curriculum. The title and some of the book’s text came directly from material written by the chemistry council, according to an investigation by California Watch.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said he was unaware that edits from the trade group and its lobbyists had been inserted in the final text. Kenneth McDonald attributed responsibility for the changes to Cal/EPA, which oversaw development and editing of the section.
Cal/EPA, which began work on the project in 2004, outsourced the bulk of curriculum development to a nonprofit group called the State Education and Environment Roundtable. Oil giant BP and the American Chemistry Council were asked to participate.
Roundtable director Gerald Lieberman said he had “total control” over what edits to include and he incorporated nearly all of the chemistry council’s suggestions. He changed key statistics to reflect the group’s preferred numbers and removed references to plastic bags as litter.
A five-point question was also added to an accompanying workbook asking students to list the advantages of plastic bags. Despite the positive messaging, environmentalists say there is no debate on the subject. Plastic bags have been proven to kill marine animals and leave behind toxic chemicals that will take 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.
Although there are efforts to wean Americans off the use of plastic bags, they are very big business. Shoppers use an estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year and stores pay $4 billion a year to purchase them for their customers’ use.
The environmental curriculum has been in development for seven years and a number of other states have expressed interest in adopting it. As of 2011, it was being tested at 140 schools in 19 California school districts. An additional 400 schools signed up to use it.
“Parents should be outraged that their kids are going to be potentially taught bogus facts written by a plastic-industry consultant suggesting advantages of plastic bags,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a recycling and environmental lobbying group.
A spokesman for the lobbying firm hired by the plastics industry disagreed and speaking of the original text it helped edit said, “The ACC [chemical council] takes exception to the overall tone, instructional approach, and the lack of solutions offered—most especially the lack of mention of the overall solution of plastic recycling,” wrote Alyson Thomas, senior account executive with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.
A week later, American Chemical Council Vice President Steven Russell complained about the California Watch story, which he said “painted a deeply distorted and almost nefarious picture of the public process.”
Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson minimized the issue in a press release as concerning “one minor section within one of 85 environmental curriculum units developed by the California Environmental Protection Agency.” But Torlakson added that he had asked his staff to “work with CalEPA to identify any material where further review may be warranted.”
In response to state Senator Fran Pavley’s request that Cal/EPA change the textbook, an agency spokesman wrote, “There is sufficient reason to initiate a review of the lesson in question.”
Letter to Senator Pavley (Cal/EPA Assistant Secretary for Education and Quality Programs Bryan Ehler)
State Agency Looks at Plastic Industry's Influence on Textbook (by Susanne Rust, California Watch)
Plastics Industry Edited Environmental Textbook (by Susanne Rust, California Watch)
Officials Re-Examine Environmental Curriculum Influenced by Plastics Industry (by Susanne Rust, California Watch)
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Comments on Education and the Environment Initiative Curriculum (Department of Education)
Strawberries and Pesticides
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved methyl iodide in 2007 as a substitute strawberry pesticide for methyl bromide, it was lauded as a safe substitute for a soon-to-be-phased-out chemical known to damage the ozone layer.
After conducting its own review and endorsing the chemical in December 2010, Cal/EPA’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) noted that it was “the most evaluated pesticide in the department's history.” The approval was heartily welcomed by the $2-billion-a-year strawberry industry but scorned by environmentalists and farm labor activists who said the chemical was unsafe and filed suit to stop its use.
The suit argued: “DPR’s approval of methyl iodide is irresponsible and illegal. There is no question that the chemical is highly toxic. Breathing even small amounts causes slurred speech, vomiting, fetal miscarriage, and permanent damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Direct skin exposure causes burns. And methyl iodide causes cancer: it is designated as a known carcinogen by the State of California, a hazardous air pollutant by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and a toxic air contaminant by DPR itself.”
Although DPR regulators approved the pesticide, many of its own scientists and advisers were skeptical of its use. The peer-review group recommended a maximum exposure of .8 parts per billion for farmworkers. The department set an exposure level 120 times higher.
“I've never seen anything like this,” said Ron Melnick, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health who has participated in similar assessments. “Why have someone review a document when you're just going to ignore it?”
In March 2011, DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam, a Governor Schwarzenegger appointee, left to take a job at Clorox.
Memos released in the course of the lawsuit include allegations that DPR management “mixed and matched” data that were “not interchangeable” to get the risk-assessment they wanted.
“These smoking gun memos show that state officials cherry-picked calculations to support their preferred outcome of approving methyl iodide instead of letting science guide their decision-making,” said Susan Kegley, a scientist with Pesticide Action Network North America.
Dr. John Froines, a professor of chemical toxicology at the UCLA School of Public Health and chair of the review committee, said, “I honestly think that this chemical will cause disease and illness. And so does everyone else on the committee.”
Newly-appointed Cal/EPA Secretary Matt Rodriguez said he would review the issue.
California Defied Own Scientists With Pesticide Approval (by Jen Quraishi, Mother Jones)
Warning About Strawberry Field Chemical Ignored, Scientists Say (by Amy Standen, California Watch)
California Gets New Environmental Chief (by Andrea Kissack, Quest)
Global Warming Initiative
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as AB 32, requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop regulations and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020. That represents a 25% reduction. An earlier deadline arrives in 2012, with mandatory caps for significant emission sources. The act, signed into law by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, essentially brings California into compliance with the UN’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol; the United States is the sole signatory among 191 participants not to have ratified the agreement.
In November 2010, voters rejected a ballot proposition (Prop. 23) that would have suspended AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate dropped to at least 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. The state’s unemployment rate has been in double digits for more than two years.
The act includes several specific requirements, including some form of pollution credit swaps. Following that directive, the ARB adopted a plan with dozens of climate change initiatives, including vehicle standards, fuel standards, energy efficiency and clean energy standards. The centerpiece is a cap-and-trade program announced in December 2010 to take effect in 2012 that places limits on greenhouse gas emissions but allows utilities, industrial plants and other businesses to avoid them by earning credits through various means.
The debate over ARB’s energy plan immediately began ricocheting through the courts while the public debated its merits.
Everyone wants cleaner air, but is AB 32 and the Air Resources Board’s implementation of it the way to get there?
Not every solution is a perfect solution, but supporters of AB 32 and the ARB’s plan for implementing it argue that it will dramatically reduce greenhouse gases in California and help move the country closer to joining other nations in observing the Kyoto Protocol.
ARB and the California Department of Health both evaluated the potential impacts of cap-and-trade and determined that the program is not likely to harm the public health and welfare. The key will be investing the money raised by the program in communities that might be adversely impacted.
A major argument against cap-and-trade warns of its adverse effect upon low-income residents who live in neighborhood adjoining utilities and industrial complexes that have obtained credits to keep polluting. But an argument has been made that the alternative of a hard cap or carbon tax that forces emission reductions across the board will force higher energy costs and bigger utility bills, both of which fall more heavily on low-income and fixed-income residents.
Although the California Republican Party supported Prop. 23, not all Republicans oppose the greenhouse gas law. George Schultz, a party stalwart who has served as Secretary of Labor, Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury, served as honorary chairman of the anti-Prop. 23 group, Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs.
“This misguided proposition will seriously harm our effort to encourage the growing entrepreneurial ventures that hold the promise of important change toward cleaner energy," he said. Shultz also argued that AB 32 was needed to help break U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
Another Republican, the governor who signed AB 32 into law, thought the opposition was more than a little misguided. Changes in the law were being sought by “greedy oil companies who want to keep polluting in our state,” Governor Schwarzenegger said during the Prop. 23 campaign.
EDF’s Take on AB 32 Scoping Plan Lawsuit (by Tim O’Connor, Environmental Defense Fund)
Assessing the Environmental Justice Arguments Against Cap and Trade (by Ann Carlson, Legal Planet)
AB 32 is catching flack from many sides: those who flat out don’t like the law; those who think ARB’s implementation of it is too weak; those who think the ARB goes too far; and those who don’t like the approach.
Groups like the Association of Irritated Residents, which filed suit to stop its implementation, support the goals of AB 32 but argue that ARB violated the act by failing to analyze whether the goals could be better met by installing non-tradable hard caps.
More ominously, some argue, cap-and-trade could actually increase the threat in California from pollution by allowing companies to buy pollution credits from projects located in other states, and in some cases Mexico.
Some environmentalists argue that California’s market-based approach to clean air fails to recognize that the atmosphere is a “public trust resource” and that the state isn’t taking the necessary steps to avert a “climate crisis.”
Sharon Duggan, a lawyer suing the state based on the public trust principle, said, “The state of California has told us unequivocally that they will not agree that the atmosphere is a public trust resource.”
Some environmental justice groups argue that the very complexity of the cap-and-trade plan makes it unfit as a solution. Because the process is dominated by lawyers, engineers and industry lobbyists, lay people are unable to participate.
Business groups, the Republican Party, large corporations, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and conservatives in general oppose the act outright for a host of small government, anti-environmentalist, pro-business reasons. They see AB 32 as an unnecessary government intrusion into the private sector that will cause an undo burden on business and kill jobs.
“I don’t doubt that there will be more green jobs in California, perhaps even thousands of them,” admits James Kellogg, an official with the State Building & Construction Trades Council.” However, we don’t want to put at risk the millions of well-paying, blue-collar jobs that put bread on the table right now.”
The California Jobs Initiative, a group that spearheaded Prop. 23, estimated the law would cost the state 1.1 million jobs.
They predict AB 32 will mean higher energy costs that will translate directly into price hikes for gasoline, electricity, natural gas and indirectly into a range of costlier consumer products.
They also think the act is unnecessary.
“This has been the blind leading the blind, political correctness that has collapsed the economy in California,” according to Republican Assemblyman Daniel Logue, a sponsor of Prop. 23. “California already has the fifth-cleanest air in the country, so why are we doing this when no one else is?”
California: Greenhouse Gas Law Aides State's Clean Tech Growth (Luka Erceg and David Hochschild, Sacramento Bee op-ed)
Cap and Trade Wins California Supreme Court Ruling (by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle)
Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board (Pew Center on Global Climate Change)
Yes on 23, California Jobs Initiative Donors (Secretary of State)
Big Money and Big Oil Behind Prop. 23 (by Andrew Adams, Sierra Club)
True Impact on Working People of AB 32 is No Mere Numbers Game (by State Building & Construction Trades Council Secretary and Treasurer James Kellogg, Capitol Weekly)
DiCaro: Shelving Calif. Greenhouse Law Will Save Jobs (by Chris Rizzo, Legal Newsline)
Lawsuit Jeopardizes California’s 2012 Cap-and-Trade Start Date (by Brandon M. Tuck and Margaret E. Peloso, V&E Climate Change Report)
Young Activists Sue U.S., States Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions (by Gabriel Nelson, New York Times)
Lawsuit by Low-Income Groups May Delay Climate Law (by Sarah Terry-Cobo, California Watch)
For the most part, Cal/EPA deals with environmental pollutants like greenhouse gases, Chromium 6, perchlorate, asbestos, lead, methyl mercury or vinyl chloride one at a time. Regulations set limits for individual pollutants at levels that pose the lowest possible risk to humans and the ecology.
But in recent years, scientists have begun to refocus their interest on geographic areas where multiple environmental hazards, including vulnerabilities of particular populations, may be at work. They have found that some communities are more likely than others to face a “cumulative impact” from pollutants and that a new scientific risk assessment process is necessary to measure this effect.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2003 Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment set the stage for the new approach and Cal/EPA followed up in 2005 with a report adopting working definitions that include a new “precautionary approach” that would allow “taking anticipatory action to protect public health or the environment if a reasonable threat of serious harm exists, even if absolute scientific evidence is not available to assess the exact risk.”
The approach is an outgrowth a principle adopted by Cal/EPA a decade ago called environmental justice, which is defined in California law as “the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”
In December 2010, Cal/EPA released a report developed by its Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment that attempted to develop a methodology for evaluating cumulative impacts of multiple sources of pollution in specific communities or geographic areas. While the report cautions that its screening methodology is not ready to be used for regulatory purposes now, Cal/EPA hopes that it will provide the framework for future implementation.
Cumulative Impacts: Building a Scientific Foundation (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment)
Linda Adams, 2006-2011
Alan C. Lloyd, 2004-2006
Terry Tamminen, 2003-2004
Winston H. Hickox, 1999-2003
Peter M. Rooney, 1997-1999
James M. Strock, 1991-1997
Appointed Cal/EPA secretary by Governor Jerry Brown in July 2011, Matthew Rodriguez graduated from University of California Berkeley with a degree in history and received his JD from Hasting College of the Law in 1980.
The longtime Bay Area resident began work at the California Coastal Commission in 1979 as a graduate student assistant. He became an associate program analyst for the Governor's Office of Planning and Research in 1981 after graduating from law school. Rodriguez joined the City of Livermore as an assistant city attorney in 1983 before becoming a deputy city attorney for the City of Hayward in 1985.
Rodriguez spent the next 24 years working on environmental issues at the California Department of Justice, beginning in 1987 as deputy attorney general. In that capacity, his clients included the California Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. He was appointed senior assistant attorney general for the Land Law Section in 1999.
Rodriguez was tapped to be chief assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Public Rights Division in 2008 shortly after Jerry Brown won election as attorney general. His responsibilities included supervision of the Land Law, Environment Law, Natural Resources Law, Consumer Law, Civil Rights Enforcement, Antitrust and Corporate Fraud sections of the office. And he supervised efforts to enforce hazardous waste disposal laws and regulations protecting groundwater from leaking underground storage tanks. Rodriguez also had responsibility for the legal team that defended the state's greenhouse gas rules against challenges by the auto industry.
He served briefly as acting chief deputy attorney general under Attorney General Kamala D. Harris before being appointed Cal/EPA secretary. Rodriguez is a Democrat and his appointment requires Senate confirmation. He joined a half-dozen top administration officials already promoted by Brown from the attorney general’s office, including Executive Secretary James Humes and Legal Affairs Secretary Jonathan Renner.
Matt Rodriquez , Secretary for Environmental Protection (Cal/EPA website)
Brown Names New CalEPA Chief from Castro Valley (by Josh Richman, Contra Costa Times)
Governor Taps AG's Matthew Rodriguez to Head CalEPA (by Cheryl Miller, Legal Pad)