January 19, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Air Board Credibility Hit By Lack Of Change:

The departed administration of ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been thoroughly discredited, its record of bending public policy to the whims of campaign donors often demonstrated and his own lack of trustworthiness amply proven.

But pockets of Schwarzenegger’s influence and the lack of integrity he epitomized remain in place fully eight months after his departure from office, one of the most notable at the California Air Resources Board.

During the last year of the ex-muscleman’s tenure, the ARB –arbiter of air quality issues for all the state’s cars, trucks, and industries – was beset with doubts about its own truthfulness.

Questions arose last year when some of its pollution estimates turned out to be off by as much as 300 percent, as with its figures on how much diesel fuel is burned in California and the level of particulate smog produced by diesel motors. Those flawed estimates were used to force operators of diesel-powered trucks, off-road vehicles, seaport and airport machinery, and others to retrofit engines or replace them with new models producing far less oxides of nitrogen and particulates.

The errors were discovered and the rules placed in abeyance only because of the work of an outside researcher using information readily available to – but unused by – the ARB’s own staff.

There was also the concurrent charge that the ARB spurred a UCLA decision to deny reappointment to epidemiology researcher James Enstrom after 34 years there. This came after Enstrom authored a report claiming there is no evidence that particulates from diesel exhaust kill anyone, a direct contradiction of longtime ARB dogma and its claim that crud from diesels has caused at least 18,000 premature deaths.

Any questions about the ARB’s trustworthiness quickly become critical because the public health – and many billions of dollars – are at stake in its decisions. For more than 50 years until 2010, no one seriously questioned the integrity of air board decisions, with politicians of both left and right consistently backing its pioneering smog-fighting tactics. These have included everything from requirements for the first rudimentary smog control devices to catalytic converters to emission standards that led to hybrid and electric cars.

The credibility questions made it clear last winter that a housecleaning was in order at the top levels of the ARB, that newly restored Gov. Jerry Brown ought to appoint replacements for the Schwarzenegger-appointed board chair Mary Nichols and others.

But that never happened. Brown kept Nichols in office, possibly because their ties go back to his earlier administration in the late 1970s, when Nichols eagerly backed a long-ago discredited plan to set up centralized smog control centers that would have ended the extensive network of small shops California featured both then and now. She also supported development of liquefied natural gas importing facilities along the California coast, a notion long since discredited – in fact, many such importing stations in other states are now being converted to exports.

So Nichols has made significant errors before.

Now she backs a cap-and-trade system as the major way to enforce the greenhouse-gas reductions mandated by the state’s landmark AB32 pollution-cutting law. That’s a system where major polluters could buy clean-air credits from others who pollute less than what they’re allowed to emit. Nichols has not wavered despite last year’s collapse of a Midwestern exchange that operated 10 years before failing.

One of her latest moves is a one-year delay of this state’s planned cap-and-trade system, a decision that has already been criticized as politically motivated by some business lobbyists. Such accusations were never hurled at the ARB before questions about its honesty arose last year.

Even some conservation groups like Communities for a Better Environment contend there are better ways than cap-and-trade to reach the AB32 carbon-reduction goals.

The key question for Brown here is whether such questions would still be arising had he cleaned house at the ARB immediately on re-entering the governor’s office.

He could have eliminated all doubt about the ARB’s integrity by placing a different, respected academic at the head of this agency that has more power and national influence than almost any other in California.

Because he did nothing of the sort, sticking instead with frequent government appointee Nichols, the mistakes and questions raised last year continue to dog the reputation of the ARB, which perpetually needs to be as pure as Caesar’s wife in order to be trusted and effective.

Follow The Mirror on Twitter: twitter.com/SMMirror

Follow The Mirror on Facebook: facebook.com/SMMirror

in News
Related Posts

Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel to Turn Amber as Part of Nationwide COVID-19 Memorial

January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021

Pacific Park joins nationwide COVID-19 memorial Tuesday night By Chad Winthrop The Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel will light up...

City Council Has Appointed An 11 Member Civilian Police Oversight Commission: Santa Monica Beat – January, 17, 2021

January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Has Appointed An 11 Member Civilian Police Oversight Commission...

Video: 25K New Housing Units in LA?

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

With a massive spike in homelessness forecasted, LA lawmakers want to build 25,000 new housing units. Learn more in this...

Edify TV: Overhaul for Canyon Property?

January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

A unique Santa Monica Canyon property may be getting an overhaul. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

City Council Votes Mayor Himmelrich And Team To Keep Council Positions: Santa Monica Beat – January, 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Votes Mayor Himmelrich And Team To Keep Council Positions...

65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 14, 2021 By Kerry Slater 65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down  A beloved...

Food Review: The Westside’s Insanely Delicious Tijuana Tacos

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Tacos 1986 in Westwood Village stands out amid a crowded taco scene By Kerry Slater In a city filled with...

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Edify TV: Westside Kids Compete to Keep Beach Clean

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Westside kids are competing to keep the beach clean! Learn more in this video made possible by Santa Monica College.

Santa Monica Fire Department Rolls Out Vaccinations

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

SMFD helps with rollout across county  By Chad Winthrop Beginning this month , Santa Monica Fire Department firefighters and paramedics...

SMC and MLK Westside Coalition’s 36th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Mon, Jan 18, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Online Only at 9am on Jan. 18th – Visit: MLKjrWestside.org  The Rev. Dr....

Assemblymember Richard Bloom Announces Intention to Run for L.A. County Supervisor

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

State rep. looking to replace Sheila Kuehl in 2022 By Sam Catanzaro With incumbent Supervisor Sheila Kuehl signaling she won’t...

Man Jumps to Death at Santa Monica Place

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Man jumps off parking structure in Monday suicide  By Sam Catanzaro A man died by suicide Monday after jumping off...