Should we go our own way? |

Should we go our own way?

Some wonder why gas prices rose with the addition of MTBE and will rise again when it is taken out.

This is because of bipartisan legislation by Democratic Sen. Daschle and Republican Bob Dole, who authored an amendment to the federal Clean Air Act requiring than “oxygenate” be added to gasoline in states not meeting clean air standards. There are two oxygenates available: MTBE and ethanol, which is distilled from corn. This was done not to clean the air, but to provide a market for surplus Midwest corn. Gov. Davis requested a waiver from the use of an oxygenate but the Bush administration refused. Do you smell pork and politics here? Adding an oxygenate to gas does not clean the air because decreased fuel economy more than offsets the supposed lower emissions measured at the tail pipe. Further, Midwest ethanol producers lack the capacity to meet California’s needs and what they have would have to be transported from the Midwest.

What should we do? The state should order the removal of all oxygenates from our gas and if the federal government cuts federal matching funds, raise the gas tax to compensate for this loss. The tax increase would probably be offset by the increased fuel economy (10 to 15 percent and more) and lowered price of gas. Gas in some states is running 30 to 40 cents a gallon less.

If the federal government follows through with its threats, the state of California should then pursue all non-violent legal means to secede from the union and establish California as a separate nation. Who knows?

The rest of the nation might go for it. California now has the world’s fifth largest economy. California now pays out $30 billion in taxes more than it receives back. If we were a separate nation we could control our borders, population growth, and pass our own laws without the federal government thwarting them, such as medical marijuana and attempts of abortion repeal. The benefits of becoming a separate nation might far outweigh the negative and with just noises towards secession, the federal government would probably back off. However, I would strongly oppose a civil war to secede.

William J. Toensing

Nevada City

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