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Big Oil suborns regulators, killing other industries and our health

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Doug Korthof

LATimes reporter Alana Semuels makes a good point about how the state is closing down manufacturing, via over-regulation from CAL-EPA.

"A factory goes silent, and state gets the blame", Jun 23, Alana Semuels

In the same issue, an op-ed piece by Greg Critser informs us that "Smog has been linked to ... damage not just to lungs but to hearts, brains and fetal development". 

The two stories should be big and important; they are also linked.

Instead of confronting the largest polluter, Big Oil, state agencies pick on the vulnerable small fry -- including the factory in the story, closed due to over-regulation.

But the problem isn't really over-regulation, it's selective mis-regulation and, ironically, under-regulation.

California regulators turn a blind eye to automobile and refinery pollution, while harshly over-regulating those without the resources to hire lobbyists and lavishly compensate compliant regulators.

For 18 years, the Air Resources Board (CARB) has had the ability to require automakers and their Big Oil backers to produce all-electric plug-in cars for sale to willing buyers.

This would allow ordinary folks the choice of buying an all-electric car, such as the Toyota RAV4-EV.  Powered by recyclable Nickel batteries that last well beyond 100,000 miles, it's perfect for those who don't drive more than 100 miles per day.  It would not cost the state a thing, it's within the powers granted to CARB to reduce air pollution, but on every occasion when it would have required the state to confront Big Oil, CARB has tamely followed the wishes of the oil industry and refused to require auto companies to sell an EV.

Ironically, plug-in cars would lower overall state costs, because those lucky few who were allowed to purchase a plug-in car in 2002 often used the money they saved not buying gas to fund a rooftop solar system.  If plug-in cars were for sale, it would make solarizing California self-funding, at the same time that it lowered demand for oil and reduced the need for new power plants.

While bending over backward to accomodate Big Oil, CARB viciously and without mercy attacks relatively minor "polluters", ludicrously ignoring the great gouts of hideous hydrocarbons from refineries.  CARB blandly ignores studies showing that the closer kids live to freeways, the more serious their permanent lung damage from freeway emissions during the critical 12 through 18 years of lung formation.

The problem is hidden by CARB only dealing with mobile source pollution, while the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) only deals with stationary pollution.  Big Oil dominates both, but by dividing the problem, they hide the real villain, oil-fired autos and oil refineries.

It's not that all cars must be plug-in; it's that buyers should have that choice.

On every occasion, CARB has killed oil-free cars, pandering shamelessly to Big Oil while coming down hard on hapless small business -- despite proof that emissions are permanently damaging our lungs, and proof that an alternative exists.

I've been in AQMD and CARB meetings where the Commissioners blandly ignored the facts, shmoozing on a first-name basis with the representative from "WISPA", Western States Petroleum.  When I pointed out to them the obvious big polluter, refineries and the oil industry, they attacked me, claiming that the oil industry was "the most over-regulated", and, in a bizarre rondelay, declaring their undying loyalty to Big Oil: "I was raised in a gas station" and "My family has been loyal to the oil industry" just, presumably, to distance themselves from my critique of Big Oil.

Which goes on polluting to this day, unregulated and insouciant.

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Promoting plug-in Electric cars and rooftop solar power.
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