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Houston, Texas, to Convert a Large Portion of its Fleet to Hybrids

8 April 2005

Houston, Texas, Mayor Bill White announced plans to convert a substantial portion of the City’s fleet of cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles to hybrids by the year 2010.

“This makes economic sense, it makes environmental sense and it is going to set an example,” said Mayor White. “We’re going to save on fuel costs and we’re going to help save our air quality.”

The City fleet comprises more than 11,000 vehicles of which 3,554 are the civilian, light-duty, “non-specialty” fleet—i.e. standard cars, pickups and SUVs.

The city will buy hybrids for this non-specialty civilian fleet when available. Some 80% of all new vehicle purchases and more than 50% of the non-specialty fleet could be hybrid vehicles by the year 2010.

The current City fleet includes 130 hybrids. In addition, there are 76 Toyota Prius and 7 Ford Escape (SUV) hybrids on order.

The City is also looking at reducing the total number of vehicles it operates.

Mayor White’s announcement came in conjunction with “Fresh Air Friday,” an annual project by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, Harris County and the City of Houston to educate the public about the risks of air pollution, promote clean air programs and support ways to keep the city beautiful.

April 8, 2005 in Fleets, Hybrids, Policy | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

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http://www.sen.ca.gov/air/6_20_03_TRUCKS/TRUCKVEHICLE_TRANSCRIPTS.DOC

Select Committee on Air Quality in the Central Valley

Truck and Vehicle Air Emission

June 20, 2003

Kings County Board of Supervisors Chambers, Hanford, California

SENATOR DEAN FLOREZ: --go ahead and get started. If you can’t hear me, just let me know. Want to bring the Senate Select Committee on Air Quality in the Central Valley to order. As you know, this committee’s been traveling throughout the Central Valley and in Sacramento since January, and of course, we’re pleased to be here in Kings County to discuss the very critical issue of air quality, and particularly as it deals with truck and vehicle emissions.

(Snip)


MR. CHARLIE PETERS: Yes, hello, Senator. Very exciting to be allowed to be here today and to put some input into all of your hard work to trying to coordinate some efforts to improve air quality in the Central Valley.

It seems as though I must be confused, because I probably shouldn’t be here today, ‘cause I’m not here asking for any money. That seems to be the basis for this. Everybody seems to want some money for their jobs or their technology and so on. But, what I would like to do is provide for you an opinion or two that maybe we can do something that might significantly improve air quality in the Central Valley while improving the lives of the citizens in the Valley and not only by air quality, but improving their relationship with business and government and that sort of thing.

I’m Charlie Peters, Clean Air Performance Professionals, and we’re a coalition of motorists. Things that we support are, we support a smog check inspection and repair audit, a gasoline oxygen cap for the fuel for gasoline, and elimination of the duel fuel café credit, and those items we believe would cut car impact 50 percent in one year.

The changes as far as the motorists are concerned that would decrease the amount of illusions or fraud or whatever you want to call it in the smog check program in half in one year, it could potentially cut the failure rate in smog check in half in one year, and it could cut the costs to the motorists in half in one year. And we believe that that could decrease the car impact 50 percent in one year.

Smog check could cut the toxic impact in half in a year, _____ waiver allowing flexibility on the fuel which virtually every stakeholder in the State of California has stated that they support would save a $10 billion national refinery welfare program of 52 cents a gallon for the ethanol use. That’s one small portion of the incentives for the ethanol use. Ethanol gets less gas mileage, produces more NOx, costs more money, plus the taxes in the incentives. And about a third of the total gasoline use in the new vehicles is generated from a credit, a café credit which the car manufacturer can produce a car that can run as an example on E85 and gasoline and the credit for the café amounts to about a third of the fuel used in the current cars in California, the new car. So we believe that somehow or another if that credit was eliminated first of all, the cost of doing that’s about $900 per car is our understanding. _____ significantly reduce the price of the cars. And significantly improve the amount of fuel being used in the fleet.

I have in front of you, hopefully in have in front of you or can supply to you an article that was in the Daily Breeze indicating that a change in management of smog check from a adversarial complaint-based process which supports fraud and cheating, to a performance-based process that demands changes in behavior, that could significantly improve how the public’s being treated.

One of the things that you’ve been supporting is a, to do some smoke testing of cars. The California Smog Check program does not allow any provider in the State of California to fail a car for smoking. I would suggest the possibility of incorporating the ability of a Smog Check provider to fail a car for smoking. And to fix it. That would get you 10 million smoke tests a year at no charge. You don’t have to pay extra money to all the police in the state to go out and give people fines and give that money to the Bureau of Automotive Repair to create more welfare. All you got to do is allow the mechanic to do his job.

We have nice little cars running all over the State of California like U-Hauls. There are tens of thousands of U-Hauls running all over the State of California. As far as I can find out, there’s not a one of them that has a California plate. None of them are contributing to the California monies at DMV, and none of them ever get a smog check. I don’t think that’s fair, Senator. I think that should be addressed.

The people who are in the automotive repair trade have solvent that’s supplied by Safety Clean. Supposed to be a clean air industry. All those vehicles are registered in Chicago and none of them ever get a smog check. They got California plates, but they never get a smog check.

There are huge opportunities to change how the public is being treated. The relationship between the government and business to better serve the public and significantly improve air quality. What I have said to you, Senator, is that the air quality in the Central Valley can be cleaned up to meet standards in one year at no cost. That’s what I said. We had an approval to do this pilot study of improved management in 1993 to start within 45 days. We would petition you, sir, to give consideration to this possibility. This year we have met with Senator Robert Presley, the father of Smog Check. We have met with the Secretary of State and Consumer Services. We have met with Senator Torlakson’s staff, with the Air Resources Board, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair, heavily pushing for a possibility of demonstrating the effectiveness of an approved oversight of Smog Check. Thank you.

(CAPP contact: Charlie Peters / (510) 537-1796) cappcharlie@earthlink.net)

NO on CA AB 386 unliss amended

Draft #4

Clean Air Performance Professionals

Amendments to Section 44036 California Health and Safety Code

Consumer protection-oriented quality assurance portion of the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program


Preamble - Under these amendments, an in-field vehicle repair audit program is added to Section 44036 of the California Health and Safety Code. These amendments, in conjunction with existing BAR legal responsibilities will create a program with the goal and procedures intended to create maximum vehicle owner satisfaction. The in-field vehicle repair audit program will provide a mechanism for continuous improvements in how vehicles are repaired so that customers will be better satisfied with the time and investment that they are making in California's Smog Check Program. By adopting a new philosophy of management we are acknowledging that motorists no longer need to live with vehicle repairs that might be characterized as insufficient or defective.

By identifying the actual quality of repairs through in-field audits of known, defects, and feeding this information back to smog check technicians and BAR staff, there would be continual improvement of quality and opportunity to reduce waste in repair actions.

Presently fear of loss of license or legal sanctions is a barrier to improving the quality of vehicle repairs. This program will encourage effective two-way communication and other mechanisms that will enable technicians and regulators and consumers to be part of the new quality audit program.

A program will help remove the barriers that rob service technicians and managers of their pride in workmanship. The in-field vehicle repair audit program will institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for all participants in the Smog Check program. In summary, these
amendments provide a permanent legislative and Executive commitment, and the necessary audit procedures for ever-improving quality and productivity in the vehicle repairs (and emissions reductions), mandated under California's vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program.

44036 (a) The consumer protection-oriented quality assurance portion of the motor vehicle inspection program shall ensure uniform and consistent tests and repairs by all qualified Smog Check technicians and licensed Smog Check stations throughout the state, and shall include a number of stations providing referee functions available to consumers.

(b) To achieve the goal of consumer protection and quality assurance, the department is directed to adopt in-field audits using known vehicle defects. The in-field audits will be used to determine if a technician does actually detect, diagnose and repair the designated audit vehicle defect.

(c) As there are no clear standards to see that emissions defects are being corrected, these audits are to be conducted without notification being provided to ensure accurate assessment. The improved methods generated by the audits will provide continuous improvements in the quality of vehicle repairs actually occurring.


(CAPP contact: Charlie Peters / (510) 537-1796 /cappcharlie@earthlink.net)

Orange County Register

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ethanol waiver available


Editorial: The federal energy bill has a provision for states to get a waiver from the gasoline ethanol mandate. California should apply for it immediately.

Tucked in among the pork and subsidies Congress passed in the energy bill this summer was a provision that could work to California's advantage - if California officials take advantage of it.

According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, the Environmental Protection Agency "would have the authority to reduce or waive the requirement for a state in which a percentage of fuel sold in that state contains renewable fuel additives. The requirement could be waived if it is determined that the mandate would have a significant adverse economic or environmental impact on the state or region." The waiver would be for one year, but it can be renewed.

As we have noted previously, California has had problems with the federal mandates under the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, which mandated that "reformulated gasoline contain 2 percent oxygen." Most California refiners chose to meet that requirement by adding methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), but it created both environmental and economic problems. It escaped easily from storage tanks and in some cases led to water supplies and bodies of water having an unpalatable taste and odor. There are also allegations that MTBE can lead to diseases.

California governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, supported by elected officials from both parties, have in the past applied for a waiver from the federal oxygenate mandate without success. The energy bill, according to the Congressional Research Service, eliminates the oxygenate mandate but replaces it with a mandate to use increasing amounts of ethanol, made from corn. And it allows states to apply for a waiver.

California has led the nation in regulating fuel to reduce air pollution, and California regulators believe the oxygenate mandate and ethanol are not necessary to reduce smog; indeed, some environmentalists believe ethanol makes certain aspects of smog worse.

Gasoline with ethanol is also more expensive, so mandated ethanol use is a factor - though not the only one - in gasoline being more expensive in California. Gov. Schwarzenegger should move aggressively to apply for a waiver from this unnecessary mandate to subsidize agribusiness in the Midwest.

Copyright 2005 The Orange County Register

http://ocregister.com/ocregister/opinion/commentary/editorials/article_682070.php


(CAPP contact: Charlie Peters / (510) 537-1796 / cappcharlie@earthlink.net)

Orange County Register

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ethanol waiver available


Editorial: The federal energy bill has a provision for states to get a waiver from the gasoline ethanol mandate. California should apply for it immediately.

Tucked in among the pork and subsidies Congress passed in the energy bill this summer was a provision that could work to California's advantage - if California officials take advantage of it.

According to Congressional Quarterly magazine, the Environmental Protection Agency "would have the authority to reduce or waive the requirement for a state in which a percentage of fuel sold in that state contains renewable fuel additives. The requirement could be waived if it is determined that the mandate would have a significant adverse economic or environmental impact on the state or region." The waiver would be for one year, but it can be renewed.

As we have noted previously, California has had problems with the federal mandates under the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, which mandated that "reformulated gasoline contain 2 percent oxygen." Most California refiners chose to meet that requirement by adding methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), but it created both environmental and economic problems. It escaped easily from storage tanks and in some cases led to water supplies and bodies of water having an unpalatable taste and odor. There are also allegations that MTBE can lead to diseases.

California governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, supported by elected officials from both parties, have in the past applied for a waiver from the federal oxygenate mandate without success. The energy bill, according to the Congressional Research Service, eliminates the oxygenate mandate but replaces it with a mandate to use increasing amounts of ethanol, made from corn. And it allows states to apply for a waiver.

California has led the nation in regulating fuel to reduce air pollution, and California regulators believe the oxygenate mandate and ethanol are not necessary to reduce smog; indeed, some environmentalists believe ethanol makes certain aspects of smog worse.

Gasoline with ethanol is also more expensive, so mandated ethanol use is a factor - though not the only one - in gasoline being more expensive in California. Gov. Schwarzenegger should move aggressively to apply for a waiver from this unnecessary mandate to subsidize agribusiness in the Midwest.

Copyright 2005 The Orange County Register

http://ocregister.com/ocregister/opinion/commentary/editorials/article_682070.php


(CAPP contact: Charlie Peters / (510) 537-1796 / cappcharlie@earthlink.net)

12. STATE OF CALIFORNIA - STATE AND CONSUMER SERVICES AGENCY ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor


August 25, 2005

The Honorable Sally Lieber
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 3091
Sacramento, California 95814

RE: AB 386 (Lieber): OPPOSE

Dear Assembly Member Lieber:

We regret to inform you that the Department of Consumer Affairs (Department) has taken an OPPOSE position on your bill, AB 386. This bill would shift oversight of and responsibility for the Smog Check program from the Bureau of Automotive Repair to the Air Resources Board.

Both, the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Air Resources Board play very different yet important roles in implementing the Smog Check program, and this bill could result in a dramatic shift of the balance in the oversight and responsibility for the program. The Department is concerned that such a shift would adversely affect consumers and licensees who rely on the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s experience and unique perspective in implementing the program.

Should you have any questions regarding our position, please contact me at 327-5196.

Sincerely,

KRISTIN TRIEPKE, Deputy Director
Division of Legislative and Regulatory Review

cc: Richard Costigan, Legislative Secretary, Office of the Governor

Happy Chastain, Deputy Secretary, Legislation, State and Consumer Services Agency


(CAPP contact: Charlie Peters / (510) 537-1796 / cappcharlie@earthlink.net)

California Scheming

By Christopher C. Hormer, 25 April 2002

The Washington Post first reported internal memos revealing that the vocal "global warming" movement and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol were fruit of a stealthy and extensive corporate lobbying campaign. The ringleader? Enron (surprise!). The memos disclosed that "green" groups were courted, funded and even created to spread the gospel that man is killing the planet by burning fossil fuels, a malady Enron offered to mitigate through its natural gas, windmill and solar ventures.

Now similar schemes, cloaking issues in green to garner political influence and economic advantage, are arising in the market for fueling America's automobility.

In California, which excluded coal from its electricity mix thus leading to its embarrassing, expensive, and dangerous summer of 2001, corporate interests are seeking to exploit green values to set a heightened, specific requirement for a particular gasoline additive, notwithstanding its well-documented environmental (and economic) downsides.

Incredibly, California's legislature again is lending a helping hand.

The Post's initial revelation of the corporate-funded Kyoto campaign involved a torrent of internal memos, including Enron's dictation of the need and content for an international treaty restricting energy use emissions. Among them was the 1996 internal Enron memo which included the sub-heading: "Making sure there is a treaty," detailing high-level meetings with Clinton administration officials. Oval Office meetings followed soon thereafter.

Enron's chief "warming" salesman, John Palmisano, provided a damning post-Kyoto assessment in another internal memo, in which he wrote: "If implemented, this agreement will do more to promote Enron's business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States." The memo went on that the Kyoto deal was "exactly what I have been lobbying for," "it seems like we won," "again, we won," and "another victory for us". It closed: "This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!"

Well, Enron, for obvious reasons doesn't have the clout it used to. But riding in the "global warming" wake it helped create, the ethanol lobby is riding on, led by the all-time political influence and corporate pork king, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

Sniffing the potential of what wooed legislators and regulators can award them but actual competition never would provide, this special interest appears to have scored big in California. And it smacks of Enron's exposed campaign of fronting "green" groups to fuel its greedy agenda.

In the waning hours of the recently concluded legislative session, the Assembly passed AB 1058. That bill required California's Air Resources Board to adopt regulations yielding the "maximum feasible" reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from passenger cars and trucks. CO2 is a naturally occurring gas. A small percentage (approximately .03) of the world's total is produced by releasing fossil-based energy through combustion.

The principal component of human breath, CO2 is also consumed by plants to produce oxygen. As such it obviously has no ill human health effects as long as, like with any ambient gas, you don't try breathing it exclusively. It does, however, pose tremendous business opportunities for new, high cost boutique fuels. But because of their higher energy costs, which hit seniors and the poor particularly hard, related fuel interests appreciate environmental claims such as "catastrophic global warming" being accepted. Hence industry's stealth green campaigns. There is a lot of money to be made by making the world a poorer place through energy suppression policies.

And that's where ethanol, the highly toxic gasoline additive derived from corn, comes into play.

Ethanol has serious fuel performance, production, logistical, and price problems dwarfing even those of the demonized MTBE. According to a 1994 affidavit sworn and filed in federal litigation, then-California Secretary of Environment Don Strock said that by "[a]dding ethanol to gasoline … the State would suffer increases in ozone, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and a loss of carbon monoxide (CO) emission reduction benefits."

No objective environmental assessment of ethanol supports its use.

Yet, the California Senate is poised to consider the "climate" legislation desired by the ethanol lobby, currently rushing it through committees. Until cars requiring no hydrocarbons become "feasible" (quite possibly never), AB 1058 would seemingly require that gasoline contain a hefty dose of the "oxygenate" produced from corn.

Why? Well, according to energy trade reporters in California, those wacky ethanol boys are up to their "ears" in this.

As bad as the corporate scheming is the environmental groups that stand behind the effort. According to the Associated Press, a group calling itself Bluewater Network is this bill's green face. Who are they? Well, Bluewater is a self-described "project of the Earth Island Institute" (EII). And as some readers may recall, EII on its website dismissed overly mourning the 9/11 tragedies in this fashion: "The majority of the victims were, unfortunately, working for the Pentagon and various elements of multinational financial empires." Bet you never knew those people deserved it.

It is time that legislators and regulators stop adopting fashionable eco-scare campaigns, until they at least learn what interests are actually behind each one. There is a good reason elected citizens, not corporate CEOs, make policy.

Christopher C. Horner is a Senior Fellow at Competitive Enterprise Institute.

http://www.protectruralscotland.com/kyoto1.htm

VOTE NO on Prop.87


The $0.51 per gal. corporate welfare to the oil refiners for adding 5.6% ethanol to California gas is about $500,000,000.00 per year.

The ethanol may add over $1.00 per gal. to the gas profit in California.

That may be about $100 billion in oil profit from California motorists.

The science is interesting but so is the money.

A $4 billion Prop. 87 oil tax may add $40 billion in oil profit.


Charlie Peters
(510) 537-1796
Clean Air Performance Professionals

CAPP contact: Charlie Peters (510) 537-1796 cappcharlie@earthlink.net

Top Schwarzenegger aide, lawmakers travel to South America

KESQ News Channel 3, (AP), Saturday, November 11, 2006

SACRAMENTO Governor Schwarzenegger's chief of staff and a bipartisan delegation of state lawmakers have left on a 12-day trip to South America to study alternative-energy technologies.

Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and high-ranking members of both the Senate and Assembly are being accompanied by representatives of energy companies and others with lobbying interests in Sacramento.

The trip will take the delegation to Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Officials say the mission is designed to give lawmakers a lesson in ethanol production and other clean-energy technologies.

The trip was organized and funded by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy.

On the Net:

California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, http://www.cfee.net/

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=5665181&nav=9qrx

Chief, Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

"Although it may be the first of its kind, it will likely not be the last. John Shearer, owner of Tahoe Sportfishing expects to have 2 of his 6 boats fitted with engines funded through the Carl Moyer Program before the summer boating season. He expects 3 more of his boats' engines to replaced with more efficient, cleaner-burning engines by this fall."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Setting the stage: Bleu Wave burns clean on lake

Adam Jensen, Tahoe Daily Tribune, March 14, 2007


With significant help from funds brought in through state grants, a classic 70 foot Burger yacht might just house two of the cleanest-burning diesel boat engines on Lake Tahoe.

Two 500 horsepower Series 60 Detroit engines were installed in January on The Bleu Wave, a vessel previously owned by MontBleu, but bought 2 months ago by Ryan and Laura Forvilly of Round Hill.

"We're running really clean right now," said Ryan Forvilly. "It's probably the cleanest burning boat on Lake Tahoe."

Clark Smithson, the Bleu Wave's captain of three years, estimated the new engines have cut fuel consumption by a third and emissions by half. The new computerized engines also have a leak-free nature that is sure to keep Smithson happy for a long time to come.

"My bilge will stay clean for the first time in years," he said.

Dirty bilge water wasn't the only problem with the old 8V71 diesel engines on the Bleu Wave. A particularly nasty exhaust also had found its source in those engines. When inspectors came to test the emissions, even Smithson was surprised at the outcome.

"It was a little embarrassing," Smithson said. "It was worse than we thought."

That's where the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Program comes in. Started in 1998, the program's aim is to offset the higher cost of cleaner-than-required heavy-duty engines.

"The Carl Moyer Program has been a public health success in its first eight years providing over five dollars worth of health benefits for every dollar spent," said Dr. Robert Sawyer, California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board Chairman, in a press statement. "With the demand for grants routinely outstripping availability, increased funding assured by Governor Schwarzenegger will allow California to more rapidly improve air quality."

In its first six years, the Carl Moyer Program provided over $140 million in funding to clean up more than 6,300 heavy-duty engines. Engines on buses, trash trucks, construction and agricultural vehicles have seen most of the funding from the program, making the on-water improvements of the Bleu Wave a rarity.

Moyer grants covered 80 percent of the costs associated with the boat's new engines, according to Smithson. Obtaining the necessary funding included Carl Moyer Grant contributions from Sacramento, Placer County, and El Dorado County.

"Everyone chipped in," Smithson said. "They were kind of excited about it being the first commercial boat (under the program) on the lake."

Although it may be the first of its kind, it will likely not be the last. John Shearer, owner of Tahoe Sportfishing expects to have 2 of his 6 boats fitted with engines funded through the Carl Moyer Program before the summer boating season. He expects 3 more of his boats' engines to replaced with more efficient, cleaner-burning engines by this fall.

http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/article/20070314/NEWS/103140059

http://cartransport.highlinetransport.us/cartransport.html
Highline Transport
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http://cartransport.highlinetransport.us/cartransport.html
Highline Transport
car transport, auto transport, car shipping, vehicle shipping, car shipper, vehicle shipper
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Dia chi: 2100 West Loop South Ste 1200
City: Houston
State: Texas
Zip code: 77027
Tel: 877.881.0705
Fax: 866.267.9062

-----Original Message-----
From: governor@govmail.ca.gov [mailto:governor@govmail.ca.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 6:52 PM
To: David Walker

Subject: Re:RE: ,…, CNET News.com

Green-tech pros eye cash in carbon

Thank you for your letter regarding our environment. I appreciate hearing from constituents who are concerned about protecting California's natural resources.

California is known around the world for its incredible beaches, magnificent natural parks and beautiful sky. Our state has been a leader in protecting and managing these resources for the past half century. I want you to know that I am committed to ensuring that all natural resources are protected and maintained so that Californians can continue to enjoy these treasures.

Since coming into office, I have created an ocean protection plan to protect our coastline against offshore drilling and improve the water quality of our ocean. In addition, I established the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, which is the largest conservancy in California, preserving and protecting 25 million acres in the Sierra Nevada range. To further protect California's environment, I will continue to support the Clean Air Act to help reduce the amount of air pollution in our state. And because some of the biggest contributors to air pollution are the vehicles on the road, I created the "Breathe Easier" campaign to buy the dirtiest old cars and scrap them, allowing motorists to purchase cleaner cars instead.

Our future is in biofuels and hydrogen, not polluting petroleum fuels. That's why I created the California Hydrogen Highway, and we now have dozens of hydrogen fueling stations across the state and many hydrogen cars and buses on the road. I also have supported the development of solar and wind technologies to promote clean and safe sources of energy.

Again, thank you for writing to me. It is heartening to know that Californians care about the future of our Golden State

Sincerely,
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Ethanol Eco nomics…

Tom McClintock’s Citizens for the California Republic, 06-18-2007


The public policy farce that the “Green Governor” unleashed with AB 32 (the so-called “greenhouse gas” law) continues. Using their newly granted power to slash carbon dioxide emissions, the California Air Resources Board (all Schwarzenegger appointees) has mandated that every gallon of gasoline sold in California must contain at least 10 percent ethanol by 2010.

First, a few basic facts. Californians use about 15 billion gallons of gasoline a year, meaning that the new ten percent CARB edict will require about 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol. Corn is the most common ethanol-producing crop in the country, yielding about 350 gallons of ethanol fuel per acre. That means converting about 4.3 million acres of farmland to ethanol production, just to meet the California requirement. But according to the USDA, California currently has only 11 million acres devoted to growing crops of all kinds. Get the picture?

The entire purpose of this exercise is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from California automobiles (although Californians already have the 8th lowest per capita gasoline consumption in the country). And that’s where the public policy discussion becomes farce.

As more acres are brought into agricultural production, the demand for nitrogen fertilizer will grow accordingly, which is itself produced through the use of fossil fuels. And the most likely source of new agricultural land will be converting rain forests to agriculture, although deforestation is already the second biggest man-made contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, ranking just behind internal combustion. And here’s the clincher: ethanol is produced through fermentation, by which glucose is broken down into equal parts of ethanol and – you guessed it – carbon dioxide.

Obviously, this edict will hit gasoline consumers hard: ethanol is less efficient than gasoline and it’s more expensive – meaning you’ll have to buy more gallons at the pump and pay more per gallon.

The bigger impact, though, will be at the grocery store. By radically and artificially increasing the demand for ethanol, the cost pressure on all agricultural products (including meat and dairy products that rely on grain feed) will be devastating. Earlier this year, spiraling corn prices forced up by artificially increased demand for ethanol produced riots throughout Mexico.

The CARB regulations will undoubtedly hit Californians hard – but they will hit starving third world populations even harder. Basic foodstuffs are a small portion of the family incomes in affluent nations, but they consume more than half of family earnings in third world countries.

So when the global warming alarmists predict worldwide starvation, they’re right. They’re creating it.

http://www.carepublic.com/blog.html?domain=tom_mcclintock&blog_id=136&category_id=&start=0&arcyear=&arcmonth=&curyear=&curmonth=&curday=

NO on AB118

Corn ethanol policy is good for gasoline refiners

Corn ethanol policy increases oil use and increases oil profit

The proposed car tax of AB 118 Nunez is an oil company welfare program

Italy used public/private partnerships as a business model in the early '40s

In my opinion the corn ethanol waiver allowed in the 2005 fed energy bill would lower gas prices, improve miles per gal, lower oil use and improve the air.

Your phone book lists your elected officials, sharing your opinion with the folks that make our rules might help

Clean Air Performance Professionals

Schwarzenegger’s nominee to fight global warming has a checkered past

By Nicholas Miller, Sacramento News & Review, 07.18.2007


When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fired California Air Resources Board chairman Robert Sawyer last month, he set off a chain reaction that exposed an agency badly shaken. Within weeks, ARB executive director Catherine Witherspoon resigned, and Capitol testimony by her and Sawyer revealed unprecedented interference by the governor’s staff over the ARB’s implementation of last year’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

Schwarzenegger tapped Mary Nichols to head the board. Her nomination was seen as a shrewd recovery; Nichols’ qualifications—chairwoman of the ARB under Governor Jerry Brown and administrator with the U.S. EPA under President Bill Clinton—seemed beyond doubt.

But while some critics question whether Nichols will be able to effectively curb emissions within the industry-beholden Schwarzenegger administration—“I don’t think anybody should be under the illusion that appointing Mary Nichols completely solves all of the problems at ARB,” offered Sierra Club’s Bill Magavern, who gingerly supports her nomination. “It’s a first step.”—others fear she’ll be part of the problem.

Their evidence? Nichols’ performance at the U.S. EPA and her role in enforcing 1990’s Clean Air Act amendments, which they contend casts doubts on her ability to effectively fight global warming in California.

“I am under the impression that Mary has been wired to the major corporate agenda for decades,” argued Charlie Peters, a longstanding smog-check and environmental activist who heads up the New Jersey-based Clean Air Performance Professionals. “She’s being put in there because she does what the corporate agenda wants.”
Nichols’ tenure at the national EPA marked a decided shift in U.S. policy for establishing and enforcing emissions reductions. A June 2000 report by D.C.-based nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility documents that Nichols, then-EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, played an instrumental role in undermining regulations and compliance.

According to the PEER report, Nichols in 1995 touted open-market trading as the “new paradigm for market-based control,” referring to a paper by attorney Richard Ayres of the O’Melveny and Myers law firm as inspiration for the new direction.

But there was a conflict of interest: Nichols’ husband, attorney John Daum, who represented Exxon in the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill case Baker v. Exxon, was an employee of O’Melveny and Myers.

In July 1994, Nichols had issued a permanent recusal that forbid her to participate “in any EPA matter in which the law firm of O’Melveny and Myers is providing representational services.” Her support for the Ayres concept of open-market trading in 1995 seemingly violated the recusal, but the EPA ignored the apparent conflict.

In 1995, the report says Nichols “directed EPA regional administrators to de-emphasize the Clean Air Act’s deadlines for attainment plans [or emissions-reductions goals] and instead shift to an emphasis on what she described as 'market-based alternatives.’” This gave states the green light to initiate carbon-credit-trading programs without a national cap on overall emissions or “quantification protocols,” which would have established a common currency for trading.

The Clean Air Act Corporation, an O’Melveny and Myers client, later would become the nation’s largest broker of these open-market-trading credits.

A 1996 EPA inspector general report challenged the validity of Nichols’ plan, citing “invalid credits or weaken[ed] enforcement.” But Nichols and fellow EPA officials were unconcerned. “Mary Nichols and I remain committed to developing a model rule which minimizes the federal government’s involvement in the day-to-day operation of the market for these trades,” stated John Seitz, director of the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

In 1997, Nichols testified before Congress that greenhouse-gas emissions are “especially well-suited to be addressed through emissions trading because the problem is caused by cumulative emissions well mixed in the atmosphere.”

PEER executive director Jeffrey Ruch explained the folly of this approach to SN&R: “You were trading one type of pollutant for another, and you didn’t have any kind of way to ensure you were getting apples for apples,” he said. “In many cases you were trading apples for the promise of a future guava.” Essentially, the carbon credits being traded were illusory; they didn’t necessarily have any net environmental benefit.

Nichols left the EPA in 1997, but her “new paradigm” de facto policy remained—and proved disastrous.

“She was a midwife to a stillborn in a sense that she wasn’t around when [the open-market trading] collapsed,” beginning in New Jersey in 2002, Ruch explained. A 2003 Department of Environmental Protection report observed that New Jersey’s Open Market Emissions Trading program failed to establish an emissions cap, did not verify the validity of credits and allowed facilities to build compliance strategies entirely on the prospect of using emission credits without the guarantee of finding a seller.

“Instead of being a trial balloon, it turned into a trial buffoon,” Ruch quipped. “This was sort of looked upon as the next new wave in air-pollution control, and it collapsed under its own weight.”

Experts are conflicted as to what this means for California and the implementation of last year’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

“I’m not sure that I had high expectations to begin with,” Ruch admitted. “In a sense, you have a governor that’s just cleaned out the Air Resources Board under circumstances that seem highly unusual and controversial.” He views Nichols as “somebody who’s promising independence but certainly understands that there’s some requirement of flexibility.”

“I think her appointment helps bring some stability back to the agency” and alleviates a “major problem” for the governor, said Sierra Club’s Magavern.

“To me, the cornerstone of [the global-warming act’s] implementation is direct emissions reductions,” Magavern continued. “You can’t put market mechanisms in place just by having the governor’s office, through back channels, dictate that to the Air Board.”

The question now is whether Nichols will share this priority—and take a stand against Schwarzenegger’s interference.

http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/Content?oid=353445

Clean Air Performance Professionals

How about improving the system we have?
Ask for a fuel ethanol waiver allowed in the 2005 energy bill

Fuel ethanol uses lots of water

Audit "Smog Check" to fix the fault in more of the failed cars

Chief Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

Improving Smog Check and fuel policy can cut car impact in half in 1 year and save money

About $20 billion in savings in first year

I'm confused about promoting products from offshore rather than improving our system

Clean Air Performance Professionals

The Farce About Ethanol...

By State Senator Tom McClintock, Free Republic, 06/28/2007

In response to my blog, "Ethanol Economics," Former Secretary of State Bill Jones (now Chairman of Pacific Ethanol), made five key points in his piece, "The Facts About Ethanol." Just for fun, let's run "The Facts About Ethanol" through the old fact-checker:

"Today, ethanol is about 65 cents per gallon cheaper than gasoline in the California market." That's only after taxpayers and consumers have kicked in a subsidy of $1.50 per gallon - or $7 billion a year paid into the pockets of ethanol producers to hide the staggering price of ethanol production. And even with the subsidy, the California Energy Commission estimates that the new CARB edict will INCREASE the price per gallon by between 4.2 and 6.5 cents - on top of the tax subsidies. Ouch.

"Allowing a 10 percent blend of ethanol into gasoline provides a 4 percent supply increase to the marketplace at a price far below current gasoline prices." Not only is the price far ABOVE current gasoline prices (see above) but Bill ignores the fact that ethanol produces less energy than gasoline - meaning you'll have to buy more gallons for the same mileage.

"CARB's recent vote reduces our reliance on oil from overseas..." Let's walk through the numbers again. One acre of corn produces 350 gallons of ethanol; the CARB edict will require 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol, in turn requiring 4.3 million acres of corn for ethanol production. Yet California only has 11 million acres devoted to growing crops of any kind. And that, in turn, means an increasing reliance on foreign agricultural produce, shifting our energy dependence from King Abdullah to Hu Jintao.

"Further, it sends a signal to companies like ours to continue to invest in California production to help make this state energy independent." Yes, you can sell a lot more ethanol with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone. You got me there. But it also sends a signal to the market to raise prices on every product that relies upon corn for both food and grain feed - meaning skyrocketing prices for everything from corn meal to milk. Remember the tortilla riots in Mexico in January?

"Pacific Ethanol uses state-of-the-art production practices that reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40 percent compared to conventional gasoline." Unless Pacific Ethanol has re-written the laws of chemistry, ethanol is produced by converting glucose into two parts ethanol and two parts carbon dioxide. The chemical equation is C6H12O6 = 2C2H5OH + 2CO2. (Memo to Bill: If you're not using this formula, you're not producing ethanol. And if you are, you're also producing lots of carbon dioxide. Better check.)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1858095/posts

* NO on “car tax” AB118 (Nunez)

* Clean Air Performance Professionals (CAPP) supports a Smog Check inspection & repair audit, gasoline oxygen cap and elimination of dual fuel CAFÉ credit to cut car impact over 50% in 1 year.

* Some folks believe corn ethanol in gasoline increases oil use and oil profit

* Ethanol uses lots of water

* A Smog Check audit would cut toxic car impact in ½ in 1 year. Chief Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

* A corn ethanol waiver would stop a $1 billion California oil refinery welfare program coming from the federal government @ $0.51 per gallon of ethanol used

* About 60,000 barrels per day of the oil used by cars is allowed by the "renewable fuel" CAFE credit

A Background Research Paper on Corn Ethanol and Unintended Consequences For California

Prepared by Juliette Anthony, M.A., M.S.
August 2007

Growth of the corn ethanol industry in California is fraught with unintended consequences, none of which are beneficial to the economy or the environment of the state. The consequences include major impacts on our overcommitted water resources, on the price of food, on our air quality and on the financial burden to citizens while private investors profit. Assembly Bill 118 in its present form (a reworking of the defeated Prop. 87), and other promised subsidies for the development and deployment of alternative fuels here in California, will develop a Food for Fuel program, affecting our food prices, our water use, and even aspects of our air quality.

WATER IMPACTS

“Food Grows Where Water Flows,” –The billboard message flashes by on Route 5 through California’s Central Valley. Water is a precious commodity in California. Our water delivery systems makes growing crops in California’s Central Valley possible. The large amounts of water required to produce ethanol competes with agricultural needs and has been overlooked or deliberately ignored by leading proponents of ethanol. Corn ethanol requires 3.7 to 5 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol just in the manufacturing process which does not take into consideration the water needed to grow the corn.. (Full Fuel Cycle Assessment: Well to Tank Energy Inputs, Emissions, and Water Impacts, Prepared for the CEC, p. 6-17) According to BlueFire, a cellulosic ethanol producer, cellulosic ethanol requires 6 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol during the manufacturing process, though the energy output is said to be at least 4-5 times greater than for corn ethanol per gallon [telephone conversation with BlueFire, June 2007]. And the future of cellulosic ethanol is an indeterminate number of years into the future—possibly five, six or more depending upon research and costs.

“The ethanol industry is mining our groundwater,” states the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. In several places ethanol plants have been shut down, and some granted only 3 year permits to operate because the groundwater supply has been so depleted. “’Mining water that is closer to the surface could result in dryer landscapes,” says Bob Libra, a geologist with Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources. ‘Some of that stuff has been in place for hundreds of thousands of years. If you take that out of the bank, you don’t know when you’re going to get it back.’”(Minnesota Environmental Partnership). Many places in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, have already sunk down many feet because of groundwater mining. In Iowa and Indiana, The Sierra Club has sued ethanol plants which have caused neighbors to become ill from toxics in the air and water. Surely, the air quality effects of an ethanol plant, if toxic for people, will be toxic for nearby cattle as well. Ethanol plants do not make good neighbors. (The Indiana Sierran-hppt:www.indiana.sierraclub.org/Sierran/03-1/EthanolPlants.asp)

AB118, now before the State Senate, will provide subsidies of 130 million dollars a year from the citizens of California through additional car and boat registration fees to research and develop infrastructure for “alternative fuels.” Although the AB118 does not specify corn ethanol, it is currently the only biofuel in the marketplace. Simply by default and timing, it will receive a lion’s share of funding. The Governor, while extolling the virtues of a water intensive ethanol industry, promotes new dams and a peripheral canal to deal with our shrinking water supply. The Governor giveth and taketh away.

Perhaps the two most popular myths about corn ethanol are that 1) it is a renewable energy source, and 2) its use as a motor fuel substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions when compared to gasoline…If all the vehicles in California operated on E85 [the Governor and Legislature’s policy], the ethanol required would consume 70 percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, but only 13.6 percent of the energy in the fuel would be renewable…” (Contra Costa Times 8/05/07)

Daniel F. Anthrop, Professor Emeritus at San Jose State writes in Ethanol No Panacea For Rising Energy Demand”, “It is worth noting that approximately 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop is irrigated and that this irrigated acreage consumes almost 18 million acre-feet per year of water – much of which is overdrafted from the Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains. To put this water requirement in some perspective, the average annual flow of the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry is only about 14 million acre-feet per year. Moreover, much of this corn acreage in the Great Plains is easily erodable land, and a number of studies have conclusively demonstrated that row crops, such as corn, result in much higher erosion rates than cereal grains or forage crops.”

FOOD FOR FUEL POLICY

The potential consequences of growing “Food For Fuel” appear to be intentionally overlooked by the framers and supporters of AB118. Water flowing through the Central Valley enables California to produce ”more than half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts . . . Due to the vast size of the produce industry, minor problems with the distribution chain . . . can cause [consequences] throughout the nation’s food system.” as we saw with the e-coli episode in the Salinas Valley last year. (Life in the USA http://www.lifeintheusa.com/food/vegetables.htm)

Almost all of this agriculture is dependent on irrigation. Millions of gallons of water potentially diverted from California farms to ethanol could cause major disruptions in the food supply for the nation, and the move to growing corn, a very water intensive crop, will also add to the pesticide and fossil fuel fertilizer run-off polluting our waterways. Shifting our valuable farmland from vegetables to mono-cropping corn is already happening in Kern County, and could prove devastating to many low income families. This is a world-wide phenomenon which AB118 would only aggravate.

Gwynne Dyer, reporter for The New Zealand Herald, wrote the following on July 10, 2007:

“We are entering a period when three separate factors are converging to drive food prices up. The first is simply demand…the global population is continuing to grow – about an extra Turkey or Vietnam every year – but as Asian economies race ahead, more people in those populous countries are starting to eat meat. The animals will need a great deal of grain, and meeting that demand will require shifting huge amounts grain-growing land from human to animal consumption – so the price of grain and of meat will both go up. …If the price of grain goes up, some of them will starve…the mania for bio-fuels is shifting huge amounts land out of food production…This attraction of biofuels for politicians is obvious: they can claim that they are doing something useful to combat emissions and global warming – although the claims are deeply suspect… The amount of United States farmland devoted to biofuels grew by 48 percent in the past year alone and hardly any new land was brought under the plough to replace the lost food production.” (http:www.nzherald.july 10, 2007)

Because the cost of a bushel of corn has doubled since September of 2006, hog and cattle farmers are bringing their animals to market early in efforts to save money on feed. Even though last year’s harvest of corn was 10.6 billion bushels, the third largest crop ever, the corn is increasingly transformed into fuel for cars, leaving the farmers short and food prices rising in the supermarkets.

“If all the scores of factories under construction or planned go into operation, fuel will gobble up no less than half of the entire corn harvest by 2008.” And “Corn is . . . is a lousy raw material for fuel because producing 10 gallons of ethanol consumes the energy equivalent of about 7 gallons of gasoline, and greenhouse gas reductions are minuscule.” (businessweek.com/7/30/2007) This from a conservative business magazine, not an environmentally biased treatise on the definite downsides of corn ethanol.

The first step is to limit the extent of corn ethanol’s subsidies. Further planting of fossil fuel intensive fertilized corn fields should be discouraged. Let the Venture Capitalists who are seeking subsidies have the privilege of risking their own funds to research better non-food crop solutions and bring them to market when they are ready. Vinod Khosla claims that “only 49 million acres could (italics are the editor’s) supply 139 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2030.” (Business Week, July 30, 2007).

If a reporter in The New Zealand Herald and a reporter at Business Week understand that there are real problems with biofuels in general and corn ethanol in particular, why has the California Press only written a few articles about AB118, and its stealth movement through the California Assembly and through two California Senate Committees? The Sierra Club, The Coalition for Clean Air, and The American Lung Association, are all aligned with Vinod Khosla and the oil companies in favor of AB118. This is reminiscent of what happened with MTBE in the late eighties and early nineties when major environmental groups backed the use of MTBE. They all, including Bluewater Network and its spin-off in D.C., the Renewable Energy Action Project (REAP), fought to preserve the oxygenate mandate so that ethanol could move in seamlessly to replace MTBE. MTBE was removed in January of 2007 and replaced by corn ethanol in all the areas of California mandated by the Clean Air Act to use an oxygenate. This includes the San Joaquin and SacramentoValleys, and the Los Angeles Basin down to the Mexican Border.

Only after many wells in California were contaminated, did NRDC and the Sierra Club realize that MTBE was a serious water quality problem and support its removal. We want to avoid a repeat of such an environmental error. Ethanol presents a considerably larger problem than MTBE. The demand for corn for ethanol production already has global effects on food supply. There were riots in June because people were not able to afford corn for tortillas, and the NPR morning news reported on August 9th that countries in Central America were speaking out against President Bush’s corn ethanol policy because it is playing havoc with their food supplies.

State Senator Tom McClintock (R) summed it up as follows: “The CARB regulations [to enforce the low carbon fuel standard] will undoubtedly hit Californians hard—but they will hit starving third world populations even harder. Basic foodstuffs are a small portion of the family incomes in affluent nations, but they consume more than half of family earnings in third world countries.” (Blog: Citizens for the California Republic, 06-18-07)

The details of the Food for Fuel policy are beautifully delineated in the publication “Rush to Ethanol” from Food and WaterWatch (foodandwaterwatch.org/food/pubs/reports/rush). Mono-cropping, fossil fuel fertilizers, air and water contamination, and the financial detriments to the economy are laid out in no nonsense language, supported by meticulous scientific research. The need to be careful with new cellulosic crops is clearly stated. If not farmed sustainably, cellulosic ethanol crops like switch grass can also wreak havoc with our soil and previously protected land reserves. “Loss of protected acres to energy crop production would be a major setback for water, soil, plant, and wildlife conservation efforts.” Cutting down of any forest anywhere in the Globe only increases global climate change, the very thing all these subsidies are supposed to curtail. Increasing sugar imports from Brazil means more rainforest degradation. Burning the forests outside Singapore to plant palm oil trees for biofuel destroyed air quality there for months.

And what of our air quality here in California? Biofuels are not quite as clean as they would have us believe.

NEGATIVE AIR QUALITY IMPACTS

The myth that ethanol is “clean” needs to be dispelled. While the Governor would like us to focus on a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which makes the use of ethanol “look good” next to gasoline for reduction of the carbon greenhouse gasses in fuel, there are other negative air quality impacts with the use of ethanol—increased VOCs, Nox and ozone. “Overall, the results tend to support that the ozone impact of permeation VOC (volatile organic compounds) relative to CO is overwhelming and significant.” Ethanol molecules escape the gas tanks and hoses because they are microscopically small enough to permeate the walls of the tanks and the hoses. (Dongmin Luo, Research Division, CARB, January 2006:”Draft-The Ozone Impact of Permeation VOC relative to Carbon Monoxide).

Ethanol increased NOx by 5%, and for every 18 Degrees Fahrenheit increase in temperature, evaporative emissions doubled, according to a presentation at South Coast Air Quality Management District, Oxygenate Issues and Options on June 15, 2006. “As a matter of public health policy, we believe that ARB is obligated to address the full range of possible adverse ozone air quality effects…” said the SCAQMD to the California Air Resources Board in a letter dated June 13, 2007. “Ozone is the prime ingredient of smog in our cities and other areas of the country…When inhaled, even at very low levels, ozone can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, . . . impair the body’s immune system defenses, making people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia . . .Ground level ozone interferes with the ability of plants to produce and store food, so that growth, reproduction and overall plant health are compromised” states the Federal EPA on its Fact Sheet for Health and Environmental Effects of Ground level ozone. http://www/epa.gov/ttn/naaqsfin/o3health.html.

While the ARB is required by state law to ensure that control measures do not increase emissions (SB989), ethanol is being used throughout the state while plans for mitigation are underway, but not yet implemented. In truth it could be several more years before these mitigations have jumped through all the enforcement hoops and reach the California consumer. Meanwhile ethanol with its permeation problems is present in our gas tanks. The SCAQMD presentation concluded, “Low level blends of ethanol create excess emissions and air quality impacts.” Low level blends are all that is widely available currently and for the foreseeable future in California

FINANCIAL BENEFITS TO INVESTORS

AB118 is Proposition 87 repackaged. The alternative fuels plan in Prop 87 was to be paid for by taxes on profits from oil extracted in California. It was defeated on the November 2006 Ballot. Since the cost will now be paid for by extra fees on the registered owners of cars and boats, the citizens will not be happy when they discover that not only has the Legislature passed what they voted against, but is also making them pay for it. Back in October of 2003, Governor Schwarzenegger promised to repeal the car tax that he inherited from Governor Davis. “I campaigned that I will not raise taxes and I say this again: I will not raise taxes,” www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/09/recall.main/index/html Whether it is called a tax or a fee, the citizens of California will pay, and the low-income and disadvantaged will be the hardest hit.

The oil companies fought Proposition 87 vigorously, and with citizen participation successfully overcame the 146 million dollars that Vinod Kohsla, Steven Bing and other ethanol entrepreneurs had invested in this ballot measure. Now the oil companies have joined the ethanol Venture Capitalist group of Vinod Kholsa, Steven Bing and Pacific Ethanol’s Koehler Brothers, along with the Sierra Club, Coalition for Clean Air, Union of Concerned Scientists, and NRDC in supporting AB 118. Apparently what the oil companies didn’t like in Proposition 87 was that they were going to have to pay the bill. Now that the citizens will pay, the plan is fine. While the press heavily covered Prop 87, there has been almost no coverage of AB118. With Speaker Nunez sponsoring the bill and with all the big environmental groups supporting, legislators are expected to vote positively. The voters, however, may have reservations come election time when they assess the damage to their pocket books, and to their air and water supply.

Very much like the original backers of MTBE, who adamantly ignored the warnings regarding MTBE’s propensities to contaminate drinking water, these same people are avoiding the unintended consequences of changing California’s crop structure and diverting millions of gallons of water into ethanol plants. They also fail to mention that across the Midwest the Sierra Club and local communities have mounted lawsuits to oppose the building of ethanol processing plants. “Already there are 235 ethanol plants under construction or in planning stages across the county, in addition to 111 operating plants…The problem: There just isn’t enough corn to go around. “ (Los Angeles Business Journal, 7/09/2007)

The Federal Government is financially propping up this industry from beginning to end. The major agribusinesses, ADM and Cargill, are subsidized to grow corn, the entrepreneurs are given funds to build plants, and the refiners are given 51 cents a gallon for blending ethanol into our gasoline. Now they want California’s citizens to add their hard earned money to already well-subsidized private ventures, and then pay more at the pump and supermarket.

A gallon of ethanol is less expensive than gasoline, but we must pay exactly the same amount for it at the pump. The oil companies profit by selling us a gallon of less expensive fuel for the same amount per gallon that we are now paying for gasoline. In addition, we get less gas mileage from that gallon of ethanol, so we have to purchase more gasoline to drive the same number of miles. Everywhere the money is flowing out of our pockets into theirs. And those who will be harmed the most are those who are always harmed the most by corporate welfare, the poorest citizens.

News organizations all over the country are just beginning to put out wake-up calls in their headlines and articles. “Think you’re paying more for milk? Well, you are…When milk prices go up it’s devastating…People who supplement their grocery budgets with food stamps also are affected”, said Tom Shanahan, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Families receive a set amount of money in food stamps and do not receive more when milk or other food prices rise. (IdahoStatesman.com, July 15, 2007) Even Robert J. Samuelson, writing an article Prius Politics for the Washington Post, July 25, 2007, says, “Driven by demand for feed and fuel, corn prices have soared. With food costs increasing, inflation has worsened. The program is mostly an income transfer from consumers to producers and ethanol refiners.”

CONCLUSION

Professor Donald F. Anthrop cited above in the Contra Costa Times says it best. “Ethanol is not going to solve this problem, and it is time for the politicians and environmentalists to stop pretending it will… These people need a reality check.”

There are alternatives to biofuels if we understand that an alternative source of energy for transportation does not have to be a liquid fuel. Photon International Magazine in their April 2007 issue offered an interesting comparison between the renewable effectiveness and environmental impacts of plug-in hybrid vehicles powered by PV solar panels versus biofuels. Once a PV panel has been installed, it will supply energy for twenty-five or more years with very little maintenance. Any crop that is grown for ethanol requires energy annually, expensive processing and distribution. Why not put PV panels on carport structures on the top open air layer of public garages, with outlets for recharging. Use subsidies for this long lasting low environmental impact fuel rather than for corn ethanol. Specific subsidies for a single PV panel on private homes for hybrid vehicles could also be suggested.

It would be most helpful for as many people as possible to notify their respective Assembly person or State Senator that AB118 and SB210 are not acceptable in their current form, that developing ethanol plants and changing our vegetable and fruit crops into corn will raise prices to levels prohibitive for many people, and that restricting our water usage so that Venture Capitalists can use it for their benefit is not beneficial to the majority of Californians.

Juliette Anthony is an environmental research consultant, former twelve year Board Member of The Coalition for Clean Air, and research consultant on MTBE for Communities for a Better Environment.

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