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Jul 27, 2006 - 04:30 PM

Presto Change-o

by Carmen Balber

Assembly Speaker Nez's AB 32 would be the first law in the nation to limit greenhouse gas emissions by industry.

The governor's new "green" image would demand his support. But the bill's opponents -- including PG&E, the Chamber of Commerce, BP, the Grocers Association and the Farm Bureau -- are among his biggest contributors. These industries have given Arnold over $8.4 million, including $3.7 million from agriculture and farming interests, $942K from grocers and $2.3 million from the oil industry.

So how to sink a green bill without taking the green wrap off the bus? Arnold knows well that laws don't matter if they can't be enforced.

The gov's amendments to AB 32 would give a board of his top appointees final say over how greenhouse gas limits will be enforced. If they decide, as the Capitol Weekly put it, that enforcement regulations would have "a negative effect on the economy" they could dump the regs. Without regs, pollution doesn't go down. The bill's opponents have $8.4 million riding on the belief that the gov's appointees won't be too hard to persuade. And of course, without his amendments, Arnold won't sign the bill.

It's the magic of campaign contributions from the big industry lobbies that dominate Sacramento.

Presto. Gov approves green bill. Change-o. Gov torpedoes green bill.

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