Americans do and should care about the environment but not to the exclusion of everything else. We should also care about housing, jobs, the economy and our individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Over the past 40 or so years, the federal government and California have enacted a number of environmental laws that too frequently result in violations of individual liberties and constitutionally protected rights.
These violations have taken the form of excessive federal and state regulations exceeding constitutional and legislative authority due to tortured interpretations based on questionable scientific and technical assumptions. In recent years, California in particular has been a victim of the depredations of bad science masquerading as “progressive” public policy, with California Air Resource Board, as perhaps the most prolific and outrageous proponent of government overreaching under the guise of environmental protection.
The cap and trade rules require California to turn back the clock and limit statewide carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, thereby eviscerating 30 years of past and potential economic growth. As such, the cap and trade regulations pose a virtually unlimited threat to the well-being of California without regard for the human toll or the impact on individual freedom. Of course, the irony is that carbon dioxide is a ubiquitous, natural substance that is essential to life on Earth.
CARB does not seem to take into account the fact that protection of the environment is only one of many competing and important social values. In an orderly society, no single value can be exacted at “whatever the cost.” Environmental laws can and must be administered so as to safeguard and not thwart, fundamental human needs and rights.
Nearly seven years after AB 32 was enacted, it is now perhaps California’s most potent threat to property rights and individual liberties. The cap and trade regulations in their current form can be wielded to inflict blunt force trauma to individual liberties and are ripe for regulatory creep throughout the state, from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada. In fact, AB 32 and the cap and trade regulations are being used by CARB bureaucrats in an effort to control not only state but also national global warming policy, a prospect that should make the entire nation shudder. In its implementation of AB 32, CARB has lost any semblance of reason with regard to individual rights or societal costs.
Local economy-sustaining businesses like Robinson Enterprises, which is currently enmeshed in the cap and trade debate through litigation, will be significantly impacted by unbalanced CARB regulations, as will you and I and millions of other California residents. We’ll see an increase in our energy bills, at the pump, food costs and countless other products and services we utilize every day. This means not only will Robinson be affected, but so will the businesses that have helped form Nevada County and make it what it is today. Businesses like S.P.D., Hansen Brothers, Tintle Inc., Humpty Dumpty, Indian Springs Vineyards, the Holbrooke Hotel, The Union, Franks Pizza and dozens of other long-standing establishments — all will be fiscally impacted by CARB regulations, even perhaps forcing some of them to close their doors because of the pressures on an already-strained economy.
As the costs to run and supply these businesses with products increase, so will the cost to you and me. Those costs will not only impact our bank accounts, but the price we pay in the name of bureaucratic overreach will come at an even greater cost to our freedom and liberties. Because of its unyielding regulatory fanaticism, it’s time to call CARB to task.
Lori Nunnink lives in Sacramento.
CARB does not seem to take into account the fact that protection of the environment is only one of many competing and important social values.