Progressives believe in free speech, robust debate, sound science and economics, transparency, government by the people, and especially compassion for the poor – except when they don’t. These days, their commitment to these principles seems to be at low ebb … in both Washingtons.
A perfect example is the Oregon and Washington governors’ determined effort to enact Low Carbon Fuel Standards – via deceptive tax-funded campaigns, tilted legislative processes, and executive fiat.
The standards require that conventional vehicle fuels be blended with alternative manmade fuels said to have less carbon in their chemical makeup or across the life cycle of creating and using the fuels. They comport with political viewpoints that oppose hydrocarbon use, prefer mass transit, are enchanted by the idea of growing fuels instead of drilling and fracking for them, and/or are convinced that even slightly reduced carbon dioxide will help reduce or prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.”
LCFS fuels include ethanol, biodiesel, and still essentially nonexistent cellulosic biofuels; but the concept of lower carbon and CO2 naturally extends to boosting the number of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Putting aside the swirling controversies over natural versus manmade climate change, its dangers to humans and wildlife, the phony 97% consensus, and the failure of climate models – addressed in Climate Change Reconsidered and at the Heartland Institute’s Climate Conference – the LCFS agenda itself is highly contentious, for economic, technological, environmental, and especially political reasons.
California has long led the nation on climate and “green” energy initiatives, spending billions on subsidies while relying heavily on other states for its energy needs. The programs have sent the cost of energy steadily upward, driven thousands of families and businesses out of the state, and made it the fourth worst jobless state in America. Governors Jerry Brown, John Kitzhaber, and Jay Inslee (of California, Oregon, and Washington, respectively) recently joined British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in signing an agreement that had been developed, behind closed doors, to coordinate policies on climate change, low carbon fuel standards, and greenhouse gas emission limits throughout the region.
California and BC have already implemented LCFS and other rules. Oregon has LCFS, but its law terminates the program at the end of 2015 unless the legislature extends it. As that seems unlikely, Mr. Kitzhaber has promised that he will use an executive order to impose an extension and “fully implement” the state’s Clean Fuels Program. “We have the opportunity to spark a homegrown clean fuels industry,” the governor said; and he is determined to use “every tool at my disposal” to make that happen. He is convinced it will create jobs, though experience elsewhere suggests the opposite is much more likely.
Mr. Inslee is equally committed to implementing a climate agenda, LCFS, and “carbon market.” If the legislature won’t support his plans, he will use his executive authority, a state-wide ballot initiative, or campaigns against recalcitrant legislators – utilizing support from coal and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Indeed, Inslee attended a closed-door fundraiser in Steyer’s home the very day he signed the climate agreement. The governor says he won’t proceed until a “rigorous analysis” of LCFS costs and technologies has been conducted, but he plans to sole-source that task to a liberal California company.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom