MOORLACH UPDATE — Cap and Trade — July 14, 2017

The craziest story of the moment is the Governor’s insistence on passing even more draconian legislation on the topic of climate change in the form of extending what is known as cap and trade (or, in this iteration, maybe cap and tax) (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Surprise! — July 11, 2017 july 11, 2017 john moorlach).

Gov. Brown believes that "climate change is real" and that California has to be the guinea pig in the world stage on addressing it. Therefore, Californians have to make certain financial sacrifices now to protect those who follow us 100 years from now. And that is only if his postulation that "climate change is real."

With "quiet dignity and grace" (a line from "Young Frankenstein"), the Governor claimed that on Monday the Legislature would be making "the most important vote of our lifetimes."

Is the vote to disallow collective bargaining a la Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker?

Is the vote to abolish the California Rule, and modify pension formulas going forward (see

Is the vote for establishing a hybrid pension plan that includes a defined contribution component?

Is it a plan to make state government more efficient, since California has the highest tax rates and still can’t deliver decent services and roads to its residents?

Is the vote to address the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation?


It’s about one man’s personal crusade to supposedly "save the planet," when the science may not support his claims (see

His comments culminated with the hysterical claim no one else in the country seems to believe enough to enact mitigating policy: “Climate change is a threat to organized human existence.” Pop some corn and enjoy his harangue.

No doubt, everyone is concerned about our planet. But, at a cost of some ninety cents per gallon of gas? Most people don’t think so.

Red, Green & Blue provides its perspective of the latest on this debate in the first piece below. At the beginning of this week we were told the vote would be on Thursday evening. It is now planned for Monday afternoon. For clarification, NGO means non-governmental organizations and EJ stands for Environmental Justice. The piece refers to a letter that the Senate Republican Caucus delivered to the Governor yesterday. It is provided in the second piece below, courtesy of the Highland Community News.

The third piece is from the Daily Pilot and provides an update on the Fairview Developmental Center closing site study. After the piece was submitted, the details of the projected cost was provided to the author. Stay tuned.

The fourth and final piece is in the OC Register’s Letter to the Editor section and provides an even crazier notion. As soon as my wife finds out where Tom Cagley, the letter’s author, resides, I’m not sure what she’ll do to him. But, I would recommend that he consider hiring a security team or a body guard. (Honey, I’m sure Mr. Cagley was just kidding.)

Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade bill passes Senate Environmental Quality Committee

Assembly Bill 398, Governor Jerry Brown’s legislation extending California’s controversial cap-and-trade program, passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee by a five- to-two party line vote today. It will head to the Senate floor on Monday, July 17.

By Dan Bacher
California cap and trade infographic from KQED by Andy Warner

The bill is opposed by many environmental justice, consumer and conservation groups, although supported by some “Big Green” NGOs, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the California League of Conservation Voters and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.

Background: California’s cap-and-trade bill is a giant wet kiss to big oil

In public testimony today, Adam Scow, Food & Water Watch California director, urged lawmakers to oppose AB 398, legislation that he says “gives major giveaways to the oil and gas lobby.”

“Governor Brown wants to give the oil and gas industry a pass to pollute for another decade.” said Scow. “This bill, that is supported by Sempra Energy and the fossil fuel industry, makes a mockery of California’s climate leadership.”

“Legislators who care about our state’s future should vote no on AB 398 and instead demand polluters make real emissions reductions at the source,” he concluded.

Julia May, senior scientist at Communities for a Better Environment, summed up the many problems with AB 398:

“The Cap & Trade extension was written by the oil industry, is even worse than the current failed program, includes preemptions from local action, gives away so many free credits we will never meet climate goals, and allows oil refineries to expand indefinitely with no program for Just Transition to clean energy that is so desperately needed in EJ communities,” May said.

Democratic Senators Jerry Hill, Nancy Skinner, Henry I. Stern, Bob Wieckowski (Chair) and Ricardo Lara voted for it, while Republican Senators Jeff Stone (Vice Chair) and Ted Gaines voted against AB 398.

Governor Brown made a passionate pitch at the hearing at the State Capitol on the legislative package that includes both AB 398 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and AB 617 by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). Brown unveiled AB 398 on Monday with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

“This isn’t about some cockamamie legacy,” Brown said in the hearing.

“A lot of you people are going to be alive, and you’re going to be alive in a horrible situation,” Brown said as he turned to the crowd. “This isn’t for me, I’m going to be dead. This is for you, and it’s real!”

Brown has been trying to get a two-thirds vote in favor of the package in order to avoid any legal challenges.

A letter from members of the Senate Republican Caucus was delivered to Governor Brown outlining their concerns on cap-and-trade this morning before the meeting. The letter conveys to the Governor that the “Caucus is united in opposition to the current efforts to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program through Assembly Bill 398 (E. Garcia).”

The letter was signed by Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado), Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County) and Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley).

Other organizations and agencies listed in opposition to AB 398 by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee include: the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, Consumer Watchdog, Friends of the Earth US, Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Sierra Club California and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Then today, “a broad and deep coalition” of climate and environmental justice groups announced their opposition to AB 398, “the cap and trade bill that began with a Western States Petroleum Association wish list,” according to a press release from RL Miller at Climate Hawks Vote:….

On June 28, In These Times revealed that leaked documents show that the Brown administration was promoting a cap-and-trade measure, not then yet a bill, “laden with talking points that appear to be ripped near verbatim from a policy paper by the state’s influential oil and gas lobby.” (…)

(Image from KQED by Andy Warner)

Senate Republicans Convey Cap-and-Trade Concerns to Governor

Senator Mike Morrell joins opposition

SACRAMENTO – This morning, a letter from members of the Senate Republican Caucus was delivered to Governor Jerry Brown outlining their concerns on cap-and-trade. The letter conveys to the Governor that the "… Caucus is united in opposition to the current efforts to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program through Assembly Bill 398 (E. Garcia)."

Below is the full letter to Governor Brown:

July 11, 2017

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Governor, State of California

State Capitol

Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

California State Senate Republicans share the concerns of our constituents and fellow Californians. We are committed to protecting and enhancing California’s environment while ensuring public health and preserving quality of life for today’s Californians and for future generations.

Preserving quality of life for all Californians requires thoughtful policies that provide for balance and protection of California’s fragile economy. For this reason, we write to advise you that our Caucus is united in opposition to the current efforts to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program through Assembly Bill 398 (E. Garcia).

Just last year, California adopted legislation expanding climate change emission goals. Senate Bill 32 mandated a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 with no consideration of the economic side effects. Senate Republicans opposed SB 32 because of concerns that it would adversely impact many households and businesses statewide. The California Chamber of Commerce correctly labeled SB 32 as a job killer.

Unfortunately, many of the mechanisms the state’s regulatory agencies have used to reduce carbon emissions have increased costs for consumers and for employers. Included in those increased costs are increases in the prices of electricity and transportation fuels. We are concerned that this rushed effort to enact a cap-and-trade extension will be no different.

We know that we do not need to remind you that this year’s Senate Bill 1 enacted a gas tax increase of 19 cents per gallon and a significant car tax increase. The Legislative Analyst’s Office advised in a March 29, 2017 letter to Assemblymember Vince Fong that cap-and-trade could raise gas prices by an estimated 63 cents per gallon in 2021, increasing to 73 cents per gallon in 2031. The cap-and-trade price impacts will be imposed on top of the tax hikes attributable to SB 1. We believe that the proposed cap-and-trade extension combined with the gas tax and car tax hikes will be a crushing blow to California residents and small businesses negatively impacting their quality of life.

We are also deeply concerned about the way in which AB 398 is being handled and rushed to a vote. This bill would extend and significantly reconfigure a multi-billion dollar program, whose effects on the State’s economy to date have not been seriously examined and discussed. Given the magnitude of its effect on the price of food, fuel, electricity, manufactured goods, and numerous statewide businesses that are sensitive to price increases in the price of fuel and power, it is astounding that a bill of this import would be rushed through the Legislature so quickly without time for meaningful public discussion and debate.

It is also difficult for the Senate Republican Caucus to envision supporting this program simply based on the fact that there are no binding guarantees that the revenues collected will not be diverted for other purposes. Time and time again, we have seen fees and taxes created for noble and important purposes, only to have them be spent on other priorities entirely unrelated to what was promised.

It should come as no surprise that the Senate Republican Caucus objects to the continued use of significant cap-and-trade revenues to fund the high speed rail program, which will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.

Lastly, we believe that it is wholly improper to give the Air Resources Board (ARB) such wide latitude to draft the regulations which implement this program. Although this bill sets out some useful guidelines to guide the ARB in this task, it still lacks any provision that would give the Legislature the ability to review or modify any of the proposed regulations as they are being prepared. This is deeply concerning, especially since this bill empowers the ARB to determine the floor and ceiling price of the allowances being sold, as well as actual number. This will give that agency enormous power over the state’s economy and the disposable income of its citizens. We cannot abide any legislation that is so deeply antithetical to representative government and the separation of powers.


Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)

Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine)

Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield)

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado)

Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga)

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove)

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)

Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County)

Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford)

Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley)

The Fairview Developmental Center and its $2-million mystery

Barbara Venezia

From time to time I like to update readers on storylines they’ve shown interest in.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, which is slated to close in 2021 and state Sen. John Moorlach’s Senate Bill 59, which would force the state to include the city of Costa Mesa and Orange County in any decision regarding future reuse of the Fairview property.

Moorlach proposed the bill to address concerns about how Sacramento could hypothetically do whatever it deems fit with the state-owned land without consulting local governments.

Moorlach noted $2 million in the governor’s budget for a site survey. That prompted a reader to ask me what exactly a $2-million site survey includes.

I went back to Moorlach.

The Costa Mesa Republican explained this price quote was also given by the state Department of General Services for the Sonoma Developmental Center, which is also closing.

Speaking with spokeswoman Monica Hassan from the Department of General Services, she really didn’t have any information other than saying the survey should take place before the closing of Fairview, and no parameters for it have been determined.

She said part of the survey would most likely include options as to what to do with the property moving forward.

That left me wondering: If you don’t know the scope of the survey to begin with, how do you price it at $2 million?

Hassan suggested I call the Department of Finance. I’ll keep readers posted when those folks get back to me.

Letters: Travis Allen for governor

Gov. Moorlach?

Your list of gubernatorial candidates resembles the presidential candidates, or most of them, for both parties in 2016: With the exception of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the GOP had the same old tired wannabes’ and the Democrats were no better with its list of has-been or never weres.

Look at the list of Democrats and all that are there are politically correct candidates with agendas that are not just suspect, but discredited. I don’t know the GOP candidates you name, but probably neither does anyone else outside of their respective districts.

Personally, I would prefer someone that is a bit of a maverick, such as state Sen. John Moorlach. One of his more enduring qualities is he is not an attorney. He ran against the GOP establishment and got elected to the Senate.

Sen. Moorlach, in my opinion, is interested in pragmatic solutions, not political correctness.

— Tom Cagley, Lake Forest

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