NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 12, 2009

According to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, climate change regulations have their "roots" in California, and much of what President Obama is trying to accomplish is guided by what California has already achieved.  She touts that the United States is finally "catching up with what's happening in California."

But what do we want to catch up to, asks the Heritage Foundation? 

  • A report by the American Lung Association from May 17, 2009 shows that Los Angeles, Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Visalia and Hanford all rank in the top 10 of one or all three categories of pollution: short-term particle pollution, ozone pollution and year-round particle pollution.
  • California's unemployment rate for August 2009 was 12.2 percent, nearly 5 percentage points higher than a year ago and tied for fourth highest in the country.

Maybe the results will come in the future but it's highly unlikely the economic pain will be worth the negligible environmental benefits.  Supporters argue that thousands of green jobs will be created, however, David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation warns that green job growth is "grossly overstated because they don't take into account the jobs lost elsewhere."

The irony of mainstream environmentalists praising one of the most polluted states as a model to follow in one of the most polluted cities in America has not been lost on critics.  It has become very clear that the concern is not so much for the pollution itself: mainstream environmentalists offer effulgent praise to California, calling it a "green state" not because it is clean but because it has installed stringent greenhouse gas regulations.  The California energy plan should be used as a lessons learned model rather than hailed as a success.

Source: Nick Loris, "EPA's Lisa Jackson: It's Time the Rest of the U.S. Caught Up with California," Heritage Foundation, October 7, 2009.

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