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Jul 14, 2004 - 05:30 PM

Toxic Removal From the CalEPA

by Doug Heller
As more comes to light about Arnold's environmental decisions (as opposed to his green-friendly promises) the green luster is starting to fade. Arnold has decided to cut regulatory fees on polluters that would have paid for important environmental protections.

And, on word that he was to be fired by the Gov., the Director of the Department of Toxic Substance Control, Ed Lowry, resigned as of Monday.

Lowry was known as a strong enforcer of California's environmental protections. He spearheaded new standards for handling mercury-laden waste and led the charge to identify and address the hazards of electronic waste, such as old computer monitors.

In forcing Lowry out, Arnold exposes the dirty secret behind the green veil: when the choice is between the environment or industry, regulator or regulated, coastline or contributor, he will choose the latter. Pushing out Lowry, like canceling fees on the timber industry and other fees to protect the coastline, shows that the Gov prioritizes his special interest donors - oil and energy firms, developers, computer manufacturers and the agriculture industry - over protecting the environment of California.

Schwarzenegger knows that he won't be able to eliminate clean air and water protections as his donors want - the voters won't stand for a wide-scale rollback of California's best-in-nation environmental protections. But the Gov. has quickly learned that environmental laws are only as good as the regulations, and regulators, that enforce them.

Arnold won't admit that he is squeezing out strong regulators because they go after polluters. But if you want to know why Lowry really got the ax, his own farewell letter to staff says it all: "We made enforcement a priority, once again leveling the playing field for law-abiding business."

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