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Katy Grimes

CARB’s Mary Nichols Is No ‘Rock Star’ Among CA Bureaucrats – Part ll

(this is part ll of “CARB’s Mary Nichols is No ‘Rock Star’ Among Bureaucrats.” Part l is here)

Bureaucrats can’t be rock stars, despite what the Los Angeles Times says.

Mary Nichols

Mary Nichols, California’s Air Resources Board Chairwoman, was referred to as a “rock star” in a LAT article Saturday. Seriously.

As the Chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, Nichols is charged with the implementation of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and SB 375, the Sustainable Communities Protection Act – both explicit social engineering processes intended to force Californians into high density, high rise housing, out of personal automobiles, and onto public transportation.

That’s not exactly the purview of the Rolling Stones. But more importantly, there are two important points surrounding Nichols’ actions:  one is the CARB knowingly relied on falsified science. The other is its dismissal of science showing counterfactual evidence.

Mary the ‘rock star’

Nichols’ father became the Socialist mayor of Ithaca, according to the LA Times, which helps explain her Statist doctrine of pushing centralized government control over anything remotely resembling free markets.

If by “rock star” the Times meant Nichols is acerbic, imperious, haughty, and rather dullard, perhaps they are correct. She usually reads from prepared statements at CARB board meetings and legislative hearings, rather than actually stating the facts and science her agency is tasked with using.

And Mary the “rock star” doesn’t like being questioned or challenged. Nichols’ open contempt for the public is obvious when the validity of her mission is questioned. I’ve seen her storm out of board meetings when members of the public present real data and science, challenging the ARB’s.

Mary of the Politburo

Welcome to California, where the Air Resources Board is California’s version of the Soviet Union’s State Committee For Planning, which was the Communist central board that supervised the planned economy of the Soviet Union, and decided how much industry in the Soviet Union was allowed to grow in each five-year period.

Nichols even tried to pass a regulation to “forbid dishonest statements offered to the Board or to its staff.” However, once it made the news, the proposed regulation providing for “penalties for false information” was removed from CARB’s website. And this agenda item appeared to have been indefinitely postponed.

This proposed regulation should have been used on CARB itself, because the “science” they relied on in many of their regulations was knowingly false information, and willfully presented. However, under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now Gov. Jerry Brown, Nichols has never been brought to justice.

Mary has hubris

In 2010, when California voters rejected Proposition 23, a measure to suspend AB 32, Nichols let her hubris show: “They didn’t know who they were messing with,” said Nichols, when it appeared Prop. 23 would be defeated. Prop 23 only sought to suspend enforcement and expansion of regulation under AB 32 until the state unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. It was approaching 10 percent at the time.

But Prop. 23 made too much sense for career bureaucrats.

“In an essay Nichols co-authored last November for Issues in Science and Technology, Air Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols described higher prices as a goal of AB 32 to spur Californians to drive less — and lamented that even a 70-cent increase in the cost of a gallon of gas probably wouldn’t do much to reduce driving,” the San Diego UT reported.

“Got it? The head of a powerful agency wants gasoline to cost more in service of a state law that has failed at its stated goal.”

And read Nichols’ own thoughts on the economics of AB 32:

“The other key element of a cap and trade regulation is the economy- wide economic incentive it creates for the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. In California, as in most other places in the world, investment in clean energy technologies is stifled. Why? Because until the true cost of our current approach to doing business is accounted for, there’s simply no motivation to do otherwise, Nichols said in a 2011 ARB pressrelease.

 Last year, lawmakers tried to get the impending Jan. 1 gas tax delayed for one year through AB 69, a bill by Fresno Democratic Assemblyman Henry Perea, and co-authored by nine Democratic Assembly and Senate members. But in one of his last acts as Senate President, Sen. Darrell Steinberg unilaterally killed the bill without ever allowing a hearing. AB 69 made Nichols bristle. “The bill is unnecessary and counterproductive,” said ARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols about AB 69.

But earlier in the year, a CARB employee indicated the agency has been planning for a long time on gas increases:

“The ARB itself estimated in 2010 that gas prices could increase 4 percent to 19 percent by 2020 as a result of cap and trade, but ARB officials said that estimate is outdated. [Stanley] Young said ‘we don’t believe there will be any discernible increase in pricing’ next year.’” (The Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2014) 

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers, announced Dec. 3, the introduction of the Affordable Gas for California Families Act, legislation to exempt transportation fuels and natural gas from the California Air Resource Board’s cap-and-trade program.

And who could forget the dogged Mary Nichols’ handling of the diesel regulations imposed by CARB, which were doctored, as I have written about extensively. Even with the discovery of the falsified science, CARB forged ahead with the program and killed a great many small businesses.

Part lll tomorrow

Thanks to Tom Tanton, Director of Science and Technology for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, for adding information and experiences.

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