In California, More 'Green' Grifting

Clarice Feldman24 Sep, 2023 4 Min Read
The Golden Goose Bridge.

You have to hand it to the greenies. They understood if they could capture California, they could impose their nonsensical energy use restrictions countrywide.. And that’s precisely what they did and continue to do, to the detriment of the state’s citizens (Los Angeles gas prices now average over $6 a gallon, a real burden for those who must commute long distances) and the rest of the country as well.

Probably their greatest victory was leveraging California’s purchasing power to compel auto makers to comply with the state’s stringent tailpipe emissions standards for new cars. These standards exceeded those required nationwide by the Clean Air Act. California’s Advanced Clean Cars program was allowed to continue despite its departure from standards nationwide only because there was a provision in the act – the California Waiver – which permitted the state to set its own standards.

Given the huge auto market in the state, auto manufacturers adopted these expensive measures on all cars sold throughout the country, in effect, allowing the California legislature—not Congress—to set the national standard. The Trump administration rescinded the waiver but more recently President Biden directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reconsider the rescission of the California waiver. Seventeen states have sued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia contesting EPA’s decision to reinstate the waiver.

Newsom: What can I grab next?

Recently, the Court heard the arguments in two cases respecting the waiver. The challenge to the waiver if successful could not only end it but clip the wings of the California greenies as well:

 The 17 State Petitioners ask the D.C. Circuit to invalidate EPA's Reinstatement Decision on two primary grounds. First, they ask the court to rule that the CAA waiver is unconstitutional under the equal sovereignty doctrine, because it grants California a sovereign power that is denied to all other states. The State Petitioners present both facial and as applied challenges, arguing that CAA Section 209(b) is unconstitutional on its face because it allows California to exercise a sovereign power that is denied every other state, and alternatively that even if such unequal treatment may sometimes be justified due to the unique circumstances of a state, California lacks any unique interest in combating climate change.

Second, the State Petitioners argue that the ACC program is preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 ("EPCA"), which grants to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") the exclusive authority to regulate fuel economy standards with no waiver or exception for California. In a separate briefing, Industry Petitioners present statutory arguments that EPA exceeded its authority under the CAA by approving a program aimed at the global issues of climate change; that California has not demonstrated that it meets the statutory requirements for eligibility for the ACC waiver; and that EPA properly exercised its reconsideration authority when it issued the Rescission Decision.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has indicated he intends to pass on a fast track two laws forcing more than 5,300 California companies to report their emissions:

SB 253 requires companies with greater than $1 billion in annual revenues to file annual reports publicly disclosing their direct, indirect, and supply chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, verified by an independent and experienced third-party provider.

SB 261 requires companies with $500 million in annual revenues to prepare biennial reports disclosing climate-related financial risk and measures they have adopted to reduce and adapt to that risk, with the first report due by January 1, 2026.

Imagine calculating not only the emissions in production and distribution but those of every supply chain user. Sounds like an impossibility to me, and one which is both irrelevant to the well-being of Californians and one which is certain to increase the cost of everything Californians buy.

California, here we go.

At the same time California is fighting to justify the Clean Act California Waiver and advancing new legislation to further beset all California producers, it has filed suit in Superior Court in San Francisco against five major oil companies and their trade group (BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips and the American Petroleum Institute), scapegoating the defendants with charges that they have hidden the consequences of expanding fossil fuel extraction .

Not only is this latest claim counterfactual, but exceedingly hypocritical, as the risks were publicly bruited for decades without action by the state. This is simply another attempted major grift. California doesn’t seek damages for any particular injury (because it can’t show any). Instead it wants the defendants ordered to pay into an abatement fund to compensate the state for damages that it alleges are caused by the fossil fuel industry. Such general damages are certainly incapable of proof, nor can they be directly attributable to the operations of these companies in California.

Even were it possible to prove that carbon emissions caused these damages, coal-burning China is a more apt culprit for rising global emissions, and it would be interesting to see the state of California demonstrate to a rational degree that the defendants’ operations “resulted in damaging wildfires, unclean air, deadly heat waves and record-breaking droughts” which California says requires redress. And with Democrats like Hawaii’s governor blaming “climate change" for the Maui wildfires, which were actually caused by atrocious management and disastrous disaster response, everything anywhere will be reason to dip the state's beak into the abatement fund.

Maybe someone should calculate the emissions resulting from these blinkered state initiatives—like the emissions from thousands of moving trucks, taking residents and businesses elsewhere.

Clarice Feldman is a retired attorney living in Washington, D.C. During her legal career she represented the late labor leader Joseph ("Jock") Yablonski and the reform mine workers against Tony Boyle. She served as an attorney with the Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations, in which role she prosecuted those who aided the Nazis in World War II. She has written for The Weekly Standard and is a regular contributor to American Thinker.


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2 comments on “In California, More 'Green' Grifting”

  1. California is showing the whole Nation how not to ruin the Government Newsom the Ninny as bad as Moonbeam Brown and probibly far worse

  2. Former Gov Brown of CA gave electric company a free pass (exempt) for expenses created by wildfires which does create health issues as well as destruction of property and even death. It's on the books! So how can Newsom and his administration justify an endangered environment lawsuit against oil and gas companies? I lived in CA during a wildfire scare when Brown passed that "edict".

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