“None of this is real,” said the then acting California Air Resources Board (CARB) Scientific Review Panel (SRP) Chairman John Froines during a 1998 Scientific Review Board Meeting. During the discussions, panel chose to rely on bad data to craft regulations now killing small businesses throughout the state. The comment referred to the data being considered as the basis for developing rules that controlled levels of particulate matter from diesel exhaust. Though the numbers were unreal, the unintended consequences of CARB rule enforcement based on voodoo science is very real.
During that 1998 meeting, a leading epidemiologist (whose study CARB was depending on to be the cornerstone of their eco-regulatory plans), argued with the panel and demanded that they NOT USE the study from the scientist’s research group. It seems that the numbers generated from the job-based-exposure study wasn’t pertinent to the general public. The data that remained AFTER the keystone study was removed proved nothing about the harmfulness of diesel exhaust. However, that 1998 CARB panel went ahead and initiated a process that has generated a series of regulations forcing companies that rely on diesel equipment throughout the state to comply or close. Despite an array of legal protections designed to guard citizens from rulings based on politically-active “experts” and pleas of public health professionals throughout the nation (as noted HERE) to halt these draconian regulations because they have no basis in real science, CARB eco-bureaucrats are continuing their business-killing power juggernaut.
A group of scientists and economists has noted that: California’s New Diesel Regulation Is All Pain for No Gain. California is the only state with such a diesel emissions reduction program, largely because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never determined that diesel exhaust causes premature deaths. For example, the agency’s large, detailed study in 2002 failed to find that diesel exhaust causes premature deaths.
It a nutshell, CARB is demanding trucking companies, construction forms, supply chains, and all other businesses retrofit or replace their diesel equipment based on the unproven premise that the fine particulates (i.e., soot) from the exhaust is harmful to the public. The CARB panel cites a “causation ratio” (a public health term for numerical proof that a chemical is toxic to people; more information on the conept of the Bradford-Hill criteria can be found HERE) of approximately 1.014 for diesel soot as the “smoking gun” calling for extreme measures to control this equipment. However, legal standards require the ratio be at least 2.0 before declaring a substance harmful to humans.
Here is a current events analogy that worth considering: People use to need credit scores of above 690 to get a good loan. However, some bureaucrats and economically illiterate legislators decided that this number should be meaningless – everyone should own a home. Poof – Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were created, so people with low scores (e.g., 550) could have mortgages backed by tax-payers. The recession, fueled by the housing and banking crises, stem from ignoring the sound numerical data.
CARB is similarly ignoring real numbers and applying voodoo science tactics.
Why are they doing this? It is important to understand that CARB has a $700 million/annual budget and 1300 employees. That is enough money to fund 7000 teachers! Or give 700, one-million dollar small businesses loans each year – loans that could be repaid to the citizens once these enterprises proved successful. Government entities backed by so much public monies are not readily inclined to part with it.
It is also important to note that he group is NOT headed by a scientist (as originally envisioned under the by the 1967 legislation that created the board). Its Chairwoman is Mary Nichols, a lawyer and environmental activist. She also chaired the panel under Governor Jerry Brown from 1978 to 1983. Nichols has blatantly ignored the requests of credential scientists such as Dr. James Enstrom , professor at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and President of the Scientific Integrity Institute of Los Angeles, to reconsider the rules because of the flawed analysis. Enstrom indicates he has discovered his critical comments of CARB conclusion, panelist qualifications, and regulatory proposals have been removed from records of public meetings.
“This is how bureaucrats handle dissenting scientists,” Enstrom explained. “They aren’t funded, and their statements are ignored or deleted. “ Enstrom likened the experience he and other dissenters have to that of Russian geneticist Nikolai Vavilov, who repeatedly criticized the erroneous inheritance concepts of Soviet-backed Trofim Lysenko, a politically connected bureaucrat that had no formal scientific training. Though his data was valid and the genetic approaches he cited were true, Vavilov was arrested in 1940 and died of malnutrition in a prison in 1943. Because Soviet agriculture was based on fantasy science, crop failures and famines resulted that killed millions of people.
“When Froines said that none of this was real, he meant the data upon which the new regulations were based,” continued Enstrom. However, the rules that California business people live under are real. CARB regulations are wiping out thousands of jobs; meanwhile, scientists are punished for simply stating reality”.
One of the companies impacted by the CARB diesel standards is Priority Moving, an award-winning and highly successful moving and storage firm. I was able to talk to its President, Bryan Bloom. Bloom indicates that the CARB requirements on his 9-truck fleet are jeopardizing the employment of 35 tax-paying citizens.
“CARB standards mandate I either retrofit my truck’s engines, or replace my trucks,” explained Bloom. “If I decide to retrofit the engines, the trucks will still be deemed illegal in a couple of years. And – get this — the technology to retrofit them isn’t even available yet! But getting a new fleet of trucks is prohibitive. Each truck costs $85,000 and I have nine of them; I will not be able to get a 1 million dollar loan to replace my equipment. Without trucks, I have no business. Without my business, 35 people have no jobs. Without those 35 people, California gets no tax money. This is senseless, especially because the CARB assertion that diesel exhaust particulates are harmful to the public is untrue.”
Bloom notes that there are many discrepancies and ill-conceived schemes within the CARB regulations. For example, CARB rules don’t distinguish between two types of fleets – High-Mileage (like that belong to Office Depot) and Low Mileage (like his). “High-mileage trucks get 100,000 miles or more each year and,as a result trucks get replaced frequently; low-mileage ones like, like mine, get maybe 25,000 a year – and it doesn’t make either economic or energy sense to remove vehicles that are in good shape.”
It is interesting to note that Bloom went to world renowned schools such as UCSD for a degrees in Management Science and Chemistry and UC Berkeley for an MBA. On the other hand, CARB’s lead scientist Hein Thanh Tran got his Ph.D. in Applied Statistics from an unknown university (it may be mailorder) called Thornhill University. It seems Tran originally stated that he held a PhD in Applied Statistics from UC Davis to become part of CARB.
The CARB rules don’t address the fact that the amount of particulate matter in Southern California air has gone down substantially over the years, especially as diesel engine technology has gotten better. The CARB plans also tout protections from health effects that are untrue – Californians have among the best life-expectancy rates in the nation. And, as Bloom noted, business owners will eventually replace all their equipment with environmentally-enhanced items without CARB involvement, “when does anyone see a 1940’s truck on the road – never!”.
There were sound reasons for CARB’s creation. For example, the Los Angeles basin smog problems through the 1940’s and 1950’s. Under certain circumstances, visibility was only three blocks and people suffered from smarting eyes, respiratory discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Air quality has improved over the past 30 years:
Southern California region can look back on thirty years of dramatically improved air quality and claim for itself one of the most remarkable environmental success stories anywhere in the world. Despite enormous growth – a doubling of population and a near tripling of vehicle miles traveled – the region now meets the federal air quality standards for four ofthe six pollutants originally regulated by the 1970 Clean Air Act, has eliminated all first, second and third stage air pollution alerts, and has reduced peak ozone levels by more than two-thirds.
However, the entrenched eco-bureaucracy is determined to remain. So, it has targeted diesel exhaust fumes using voodoo science so that it can remain empowered. A chilling aspect to consider is that the California version of Cap-and-Trade, AB 32, strengthens the regulating capabilities of CARB. It’s rather like giving an eco-crazed He-Man a shot of Human Growth Hormone – the results will not be good.
The question is, what can California citizens do to stop eco-harassment of our businesses?
Some businessmen are fighting back. Norman “Skip” Brown, President of<a href=”http://deltaconstructioninc.com/finished_projects”> Delta Construction Company for the past 44 years, is taking CARB to court. The Pacific Legal Foundation is representing Brown and eight other California business owners in a lawsuit that aims to ensure accountability in the regulatory process and challenges the appointment process that seemingly empanels CARB regulators for life terms.
“I initially tried to work with CARB, and I regularly talked to their staff,” recalled Brown. “However, I have come to the conclusion after dealing with them for so long that they do not understand business and they do not understand economics. I have lost 95% of my net worth because of senseless regulation. As it seems CARB is not interested in complying with California rules applicable to itself, I am taking them to court”.
Brown’s company paves roads, which is essential in enhancing California infrastructure (which I thought was a government responsibility). His team utilizes a lot of portable diesel equipment impacted by the CARB rules – and, like Bloom, cannot economically retrofit or replace his units. He also employs a good sized staff. Putting the lie to the eco-sentiment that businessmen sacrifice everything for profit, Brown has not drawn a salary since September of last year so he could pay his employees. Here is an example of his team’s work:
“My people need their checks,” said Brown. “I need my people to generate income. But I cannot sustain this loss forever. I will be out of business in three years if things don’t change.”
The essence of the PLF lawsuit, Brown vs Adams, is that CARB is that there must be no regulation without representation. The Health and Safety Code that empowers the CARB scientific review panel’s nine members mandate sets three-year terms and requires nominations from a pool of qualified scientists be submitted by the President of the University of California. However, CARB’s website indicates that the majority now serving as panel members have held their positions for over a decade and the UC President has made no nominations since 2004.
“In a democratic system, the regulators must be answerable if not to the electorate, then to officials who themselves are representatives because they answer to the voters,” explained Attorney Damien Schiff, who is handling the case. “In the case of the scientific review panel, the lawfully designated appoint authorities are all answerable to voters – members of a Senate Committee, the speaker of the Assembly, and one of the governor’s cabinet members. These officials must be ordered to fulfill their duty and provide real and active oversight of the regulatory process by putting forward new nominations for the CARB science panel, as the law requires. This kind of oversight is especially urgent for CARB, an agency that has b3ecome notorious for imposing regulations that threaten to kill jobs and stifle economic recovery.”
Other actions Californians can take:
• Please join us for the March on Sacramento: Save California from Big Government Eco-regulation on August 28, 1-5 pm, at the steps of the capitol. The more visible we citizens are, the more seriously the legislators will act on our behalf. More information can be found on the SAC828 website.
• Donate to the Pacific Legal Foundation so they can aggressively and successfully conclude the case on behalf of the plaintiffs. (www.pacificlegal.org; 916-419-7111; email = firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Contact CARB Chairman Mary Nichols directly: (916) 322-5840 CHAIR email@example.com.
• Assemblymen Chuck Devore, Mike Villines, and Lou Correa have asked for a temporary suspension of the economically devastating CARB rules. Inquire how you can support efforts to curb CARB’s powers. (Contact the assemblymen by using this LIST HERE).
• Contact state representatives and ask them to eliminate CARB. This behemoth needs to be excised for the good of California. Given the egregious misuse of their power, if our representatives wish to empower real scientists to track air quality aspects for public health, then CARM needs to be disbanded so that our politicians can start from scratch for the best chance of a successful new program.
• The time has come to develop protocol to formally deem environmental action plans, such as the Air Quality Control Programs, successful so that the bureaucracy can be trimmed back from a problem-solving mode to a monitoring status. No one wants pollution, and while some industrial monitoring is needed, aggressive control of businesses under the banner of eco-do-gooderism goes well beyond the bounds of sensible government.
One Final Point: The CARB eco-tryants say that they are creating these monstrous regulations for our health. Actually, between the good air and sunshine, Californians enjoy a very good life expectancy — about the best in the nation. Dr. Enstrom points out that public health research shows that prolonged unemployment reduces peoples’ lifespans significantly. This might be the reason these people are upset, as related to our Farmer’s Battle Against Eco-tyranny.
MUT’s Money Links:
* It seems the federal version of Cap&Trade may be DOA: Cap-and-trade dead now, too? Now, we just have to get our state representatives to repeal its toxic version.
* Maybe Lannie Davis will demand photographs of the our “fake” outrage at eco-regulation like he wants for healthcare protesters: Lanny Davis wants you photographed and investigated.
* Science seems to be in the news today. Allahpundit of Hot Air notes that the new RNC ad opposing Obamacare features “experiments”. The video is a hoot – check it out!