Southern California environment news and trends

Brown argues environment could create jobs in second debate of governor's race

Not too much talk about the environment in today's debate between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman in California's governor's race. What talking there was, Brown did it. In answer to a question about job creation in California that pointed out higher unemployment for Latinos, Brown responded that 1.9 million new jobs developed in California while he was governor. He created the California Conservation Corps, which has since had 100-thousand people pass through its program.

"We can power our factories, we can retrofit our buildings, we can build transmission lines, solar collectors, geothermal, wind machines, California was the leader," Brown said. "In renewable energy. now we're behind iowa and texas and china. I believe we can be the leader again."

Brown said some of these projects would be funded by electric utilities. And he said he had a concrete plan: 20-thousand megawatts of energy created in California by 2020, 500-thousand resulting jobs.

"I'm not talking about just a few jobs in the desert. I'm talking about retrofitting all the buildings of California. the commercial, the residential," he said. "Putting young people to work. Whoever's out of work - this is a major public works project."

Brown also said high speed rail would create jobs - something Whitman doesn't support.

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Schwarzenegger swings against Prop 23 to defend legacy

In his weekly address, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger defended AB32 and California's climate policy on environmental and economic grounds. This is the week The Gub came out fighting. He denounced Proposition 23, and he told folks at the Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara:

Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of their black-oil hearts, are really spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? It's not about jobs at all. It's about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.

Video of his weekly address below:

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UPDATE: Boxer, Baucus & EPW

Some interesting updates to a blog entry I made a few days ago about Boxer, Baucus and the comments about her EPW leadership.

During the debate, Carly Fiorina's people tweeted a link to comments made during a hearing in July. To me outside Washington, it looked like Baucus could have been dinging less conservative Dems generally rather than Boxer specifically. Worth noting that Republicans have spun that as utter repudiation of Boxer's chairmanship cloaked in Senatorial courtesy, even with Baucus releasing comments like this (after Wednesday's debate):

"Senator Boxer is a strong and effective Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and delivers for California time and again. I strongly support Senator Boxer and completely reject any claims to the contrary."

I don't know if that's true. I don't know if it's not. It does seem to me what matters most in terms of the environment is what Boxer accomplished in that EPW committee. Still curious about that.

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A riddle: Can a fish turn off water pumps in California's Delta?

Brandon Middleton, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, checked out my blog on Fiorina and water in the Central Valley, and like Fiorina did to me, offers corrections I may not need for an analysis of water policy in California he agrees "is not easy to understand."  But if you're so inclined, check out the concerns he raises about the Endangered Species Act generally - much of his post is pre-occupied with the arguments against ESA offered by groups like PLF in ongoing efforts to limit the ESA, undermine it, or eliminate it entirely - like Richard Pombo did for his whole career.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is in the process of challenging the regulation of Delta smelt on Constitutional grounds: making the argument that because the smelt's not sold in interstate commerce, Congress can't regulate it. [Updated 5:47 pm to correct missing words!]

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Reviewing The Big Uneasy, Revisiting Maria Garzino

I saw The Big Uneasy last weekend, Harry Shearer's film in which Maria Garzino tells her story again. Which is still unfinished. Note: I posted about The Big Easy a couple weeks ago, and who joined the debate but Harry Shearer himself!

Variety checked it out. The Economist checked it out, too and both had similar complaints that this was no Spike Lee joint. As Gary Moskowitz wrote:

Where films such as "Trouble the Water" and Spike Lee's two four-hour documentaries on the subject—the award-winning "When the Levees Broke" and "If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise"—are heavily emotional endeavours that tackle issues of race and class among New Orleans residents, Shearer's film spends more time considering the science and politics behind the mess.

I sort of think comparisons like these are patently unfair. Presenting race and class issues is inherently more emotional. I don't think that's what Shearer was after. If you always think of New Orleans as an emotional, artistic place, you're never going to pay attention to how specifically their engineering - which is our engineering, which is national - and their politics - which is our politics, which compromises our engineering - failed and killed people.

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