USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay ...

Image via Wikipedia

I received this email from dsubers@ka-pow.com the other day. Dsubers is against SB 375.  I support SB 375.

Here’s the email from dsubers@ka-pow.com:

On behalf of a wide variety of business, labor and community interests – including the California Building Industry Association, National Federation of Independent Business- CA, and many others – we would like to ask for your help on an urgent matter. The California Air Resources Board has proposed greenhouse gas emission reduction targets under SB 375 that are extremely restrictive, and ultimately impossible to meet. The targets would result in massive cost increases for the average family and small businesses, would place huge financial and infrastructure burdens on local governments, and would open the business community to unbearable lawsuits and restrictions on development. Experts at regional planning organizations have forecasted that these high regulations will result in negative impacts that will harm our state’s residents and our economic recovery – for example:

$9.07 per gallon gas prices
Congestion fees in metropolitan areas
Taxes on vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
Parking fee increases in local municpalities
Relocation of 200,000 people into the city centers.

We need your help! The California Air Resources Board is set to vote on these targets next Thursday, September 23rd. You can help in the following ways:
Email the members of the California Air Resources Board telling them to adopt more achievable targets in 2020 and to delay adopting 2035 targets until more comprehensive analysis of economic impacts is conducted. You can email the board members at arbboard@arb.ca.gov and the chair Mary Nichols at mnichols@arb.ca.gov. You can also call the California Air Resources Board at (800) 242-4450.
Over 70 organizations from across the state have joined this effort. To add your name to the effort and this letter please reply to this email.

What Happened?
After a series of public workshops focusing on setting realistic targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff unexpectedly proposed unreasonable and unachievable targets that will impede economic recovery and impose major financial burdens on local communities. During the stakeholder process, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, stated that they could achieve a 5% reduction in 2020 and 5% reduction in 2035. However, CARB’s recommendation set more extreme target levels of 7% for 2020 and 15% for 2035. Similarly, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), which is the metropolitan planning organization representing six counties, 190 cities and more than 19 million residents, recommended a realistic target range of 6-8% for 2020 and 3-6% for 2035. But CARB set the Southern California levels at 8% for 2020 and 13% for 2035.

Major Economic and Lifestyle Impacts
Consumer costs. According to the MTC‘s professional staff evaluation of Bay Area impacts, the extreme targets proposed by CARB would result in massive price increases for families and businesses.
Increased gas prices: The MTC concluded that even a target of 12% (let alone 15%) would require gas prices of $9.07 per gallon to encourage less driving.
Congestion tax: The MTC would have to institute congestion fee pricing of $0.25 per mile for using freeways during peak periods – resulting in a 460% annual increase to travel costs.
Parking fee increases: Parking costs across the state would be increased by $1.00 per hour.
Overall, CARB’s targets would increase auto operation costs by five-fold.
Population relocation. CARB’s targets would force people to abandon suburban life-styles and move into city centers with higher population density. The MTC projected moving 200,000 people out of the suburbs and into the city center to meet the targets.
Lack of funding. Local governments simply do not have the funding to support the infrastructure needs nor the planning activities that would be required under the targets. Already local governments have to cut budgets and reduce public transit service – there is no guaranteed additional funding to support the new transit needs that would be necessary to meet the targets.
Potential loss of federal funds. The unrealistic regional planning processes required under the SB 375 could likely result in the additional loss of federal transportation funding for local governments.
Faulty assumptions. CARB’s emission reduction targets rely on the fruition of future high-cost transportation projects that are still in early development phases. Without these projects, the targets are even further out of reach. These projects include high speed rail, high occupancy lanes, toll roads, etc.

Preventing Economic Growth, Creating Uncertainty
Counting on a poor economy. The GHG reduction targets rely on a poor economy and lower jobs as a tool for meeting their strict emission reductions. According to MTC’s analysis, forecasting and planning for fewer jobs and less economic growth could result in 5% emission reductions
Uncertain regulatory process. CARB has released targets that are unreasonable, but has established an alternative process to re-evaluate these targets. This uncertainty over the targets is detrimental because businesses need certainty and clarity in the regulatory requirements in order to support investment decisions regarding location, expansion and operation.
More lawsuits. The infeasible targets could be used to justify even more lawsuits designed to stop any new development. With extreme emission reduction requirements, businesses will be forced to pay huge fines, implement expensive and unreasonable mitigations, and possibly face lawsuits that could stop their development altogether if it is determined to be too far outside the city center.
Preserving the recession. Unreasonable restrictions on development, construction and home building will prevent our economy from rebounding and harm efforts to reduce the state’s high unemployment numbers.

Flawed Process
SB 375 was passed in 2008 to address regional planning for transportation, housing and greenhouse gasses. CARB set forth on a collaborative process that engaged officials at the local level to identify emission reduction targets associated with land use and transportation that are both ambitious and achievable. Regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) were in charge of recommending emission reduction targets that they forecasted to meet the goals of SB 375. However, CARB staff disregarded the input and analysis provided during the stakeholder process, and instead have proposed completely unrealistic reduction targets that were not even discussed or modeled.
Targets not evaluated. The SB 375 process included numerous public workshops to examine emission reduction targets that would be both ambitious and reasonable for local governments. The MPOs evaluated target ranges, and determined that the aggressive targets being explored were overly ambitious and simply not achievable. However, CARB’s targets were even higher than the most aggressive options mentioned in the workshops.
In Northern California, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) modeled their most aggressive target at 12% GHG reduction by 2035. The MTC highlighted that the most aggressive targets are “not considered attainable by any stretch of the imagination.” Despite this warning, CARB’s suggested target for the Bay Area is 15% by 2035
The Southern California Association of Governments suggested that a GHG reduction of 5 or 6% by 2035 is attainable. They forecasted that GHG reductions above 10% by 2035 are considered too ambitious and unattainable. However, CARB’s suggested target for the region is set at 13% by 2035.
No basis for last minute change. There is no explanation as to why CARB moved way beyond the targets discussed in the workshops. They ignored public input and expert testimony, and adopted extreme targets that were never vetted in the public process.
Ignores realistic human costs. Each incremental percentage reduction for emissions is exponential. Therefore each percentage increase in the targets requires huge behavior changes and skyrocketing costs.

We need your help! Please contact us at dsubers@ka-pow.com to find out more, or to add your name to this effort!

Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.

Plan It Green Printing is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache