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Senator Rod Wright, Global Warming Denier, Holds Sham Hearing on Cap-and-Trade
While Sacramento was suffering through its seventh consecutive day of 100 degree temperatures and air quality was unhealthy yesterday, Democratic State Senator Rod Wright held a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on California Job Creation and Retention. It was quite a show -- and Exhibit A for why the media has turned its attention to some Senate Select Committees that waste taxpayer dollars and produce little in the way of work http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/14/4722921/more-waste-of-select-committees.html.
Instead of a fair evaluation of the the cap and trade program, Mr. Wright, who represents part of Los Angeles, used the hearing as a platform to vent against environmental regulation dating back to the 1960s. To try to make his case, he stacked panels for the "hearing" with representatives of polluting industries who would be most affected by environmental regulations. In fact, the hearing set-up was so lopsided in favor of industry that the handful of pro-AB 32 speakers that were set to speak ultimately decided not to participate in the charade.
But that didn't stop Wright from spending the better part of an hour pummeling the representative of CARB about everything ranging from why GTOs were no longer produced in his district, why the price of gas has risen in the last few days, and to why truckers gas up outside the California border. Of course, none of these things had anything to do with the subject at hand. But that didn't stop Wright from wasting taxpayer dollars on a hearing so he could vent his views and deny that climate change is underway -- despite the overwhelming science to the contrary. To Mr. Wright, facts are stubborn things.
When Wright occasionally decide to stick to the subject at hand, he made little sense. Although he admitting that AB 32 resulted in billions of dollars of savings in health benefits, Wright dismissed them, saying that's not what AB 32 was meant to be about. Instead, he recited the tired industry arguments against AB 32 -- that California was taking on climate change alone (without recognizing the massive investment in job creation that our pioneering effort has led to) and that businesses would relocate outside of California because of the law (without noting the number of businesses and jobs creating from creating more efficient advanced technology).
Wright was joined by Republican Senate climate denier Bob Dutton, who used the hearing to complain about CARB's budget. Only Senator Michael Rubio (D) asked legitimate questions about the cap-and-trade program, and provided intelligent discourse about the impacts on business and options on how to implement AB 32 smoothly.
Meanwhile, Wright's committee analysis prepared for the hearing, the "Examination of Economic Impacts of AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Program," might well have been written by the polluters themselves. It was based on two discredited studies paid for by polluters instead of independent analysis or any mention of CARB and other research that noted the economic benefits of AB 32.
And if the pollution industry's grip on Senator Wright's hearing wasn't obvious enough, one polluting industry witness was invited to sit on the committee dias and provide testimony -- a violation of Senate Rules that required the Senate staff to correct mid-hearing.
Mr. Wright is certainly entitled to his opinion. But to utilize legislature resources and taxpayer dollars for a sham of a hearing instead of a legitimate discussion of the economic impact of cap and trade regulations is a disservice to all Californians and the State Senate.
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