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Jun 07, 2006 - 02:15 PM

Green Sonja

by Carmen Balber
The gov launches a tour of the state today -- in a green bus wrapped with snow-capped California mountain vistas -- hoping to persuade California voters he is a green machine. But a spiffy new green and white website and lots of green bunting are not enough to greenwash Arnold.

His record speaks for itself. Arnold:

* Was the celebrity spokesman for Proposition 64, the November '04 ballot initiative that environmental organizations see as eliminating the ability of the public to go after polluters and stop corporations from putting profits ahead of public health and safety.

* Filled important environmental posts with people from regulated industries: A former utility executive was made environmental advocate on the Energy Commission; a former lumber executive was appointed deputy secretary at CalEPA; and, a longtime lobbyist for polluting industries was nominated to run the Air Resources Board (a nomination blocked by the state Senate).

* Dropped his campaign promises for smart land use and growth monitoring, while his staff drafted legislation that would have seriously harmed the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which protects against local environmental damage from development.

* Proposed loosening regulatory oversight of logging operations and has failed to defend a national conservation ruling by former President Clinton that protects 58.5 million acres from road building and commercial logging.

* Vetoed scores of environmental and public health bills, including: SB 455 to strengthen enforcement of pesticide protection laws; SB 600 to monitor environmental toxin levels in members of the public; and, AB 2042 to prohibit air pollution at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles from exceeding baseline levels.

* Cynically ignored a promise to run his gas-guzzling Hummers on vegetable fuel, after he faked filling another Hummer with hydrogen fuel to get a good photo op.

* Received $2.9 million from energy and oil companies, $92,230 directly from lumber and logging companies, and $13.8 million from real estate moguls and developers. And in one recent week, he got $52,000 from the trucking industry, which is trying to influence new regulation of deadly diesel emissions.

Arnold has bragged about his ability to sell anything, even tickets to his monumental 1985 sci-fi flop, Red Sonja. That movie's U.S. gross was just one-third of its $18 milliion production cost. Given the governor's environmental history, it's not likely anyone will buy him as the hero of "Green Sonja," either.

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