OC Register/Thomas D, Elias - Contributing Columnist
From the day Republican President Donald Trump won last fall’s election, Gov. Jerry Brown has worked to position himself as the leader of the loyal opposition, saying time and again that he will fight for the liberal agenda so popular in California, from same sex marriage to climate change activism.
He’s especially vocal about preserving the state’s ability to move on its own to improve air quality and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases most scientists have found are a prime cause of climate change and global warming.
So it was a little startling when 12 environmental and public interest groups published a report the other day questioning Brown’s green credentials, claiming he consistently lives down to his name: “Brown” on everything from oil drilling to preventing toxic emissions and promoting an overcapacity of fossil-fueled, greenhouse gas-spewing electric plants.
That last may have been the biggest surprise, considering Brown’s frequent posturing as a champion of renewable energy, especially power from wind and solar sources. Despite his frequent words, the 12 groups say California now derives 60 percent of its power from fossil fuels, mostly natural gas, while in 2012, just after Brown took office for the second time, the state was getting just 53 percent of its electricity from such “dirty” sources.
What’s more, the groups charged in their 56-page report, Brown systematically encourages a glut of power plants that sees consumers pay for about 20 percent more generating capacity than the state will ever need in the foreseeable future.
The accusing groups include Consumer Watchdog, Food & Water Watch, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Restore the Delta, among others. Restore the Delta has long opposed Brown’s “twin tunnels” plan to bring Northern California river water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta, while Consumer Watchdog previously issued a report accusing Brown of political corruption.
As with past reports like that, Brown has said nothing about the claims against him, thus assuring they got little publicity. “Same drivel, different day,” press secretary Evan Westrup opined.
But the claims in the environmental report appear every bit as solid as those in the previous corruption allegations, the subject of an ongoing investigation by a state watchdog agency.
Food and Water Watch is particularly incensed about the apparent acquiescence of Brown appointees in plans of Southern California Gas Co. to reopen its flawed Aliso Canyon gas storage field near Porter Ranch, even if it’s at somewhat lower levels of gas quantity than SoCal Gas finds optimal.
The group noted that Brown’s sister, Kathleen, the former state treasurer, draws a six-figure fee as a board member of SoCal’s parent company, Sempra Energy, saying that makes his actions – or inaction – on Aliso a conflict of interest.
The report also castigates Brown for “nurturing (oil and gas) drilling and fracking,” repeating a contention that early in his term he fired regulators who tried to delay hydraulic fracking for gas and oil in Kern County until there were assurances that waste water from those operations would not harm ground water supplies often used for crop irrigation.
The report claimed Brown is living out his 2012 statement that “The oil rigs are moving in Kern County … we want to use our resources (including) the sun and all the other sources of power. It’s not easy. There are going to be screwups, there are going to be bankruptcies, there’ll be indictments and there’ll be deaths, but … nothing is going to stop us.” So far, there have been no indictments, but former Brown-appointed members of the state Public Utilities Commission have been under investigation since early 2015 by federal and state authorities.
The green groups noted that Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein endorses a state legislative bill to keep Aliso Canyon closed until the causes of the storage field’s months-long leak in 2015 and 2016 are found and fixed. Brown is silent on that bill.
None of these claims has yet affected either Brown’s approval ratings or his policies. No one yet knows if the contradictions cited between his posturing and his actions will sully his legacy, his standing in state history or his prospects in a potential future run for the Senate.
Which means all anyone can do is stay tuned.
Thomas D. Elias is a writer in Southern California.
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Last edited by Stevejet; 02-28-2017 at 05:00 PM.
"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington, the first President of the United States (1789-1797)
"They", the mentally afflicted, may as well have.
I love it. Leftists and Leftist organizations criticizing a Leftist (although pragmatic) state Governor because he's not Leftist enough.
They're punching holes in the bottom of the boat so bilge water can escape.
The difference between a Socialist and a Communist is that the Socialist doesn't have all the guns yet.
They - DEMOCRATS - having found Republican/Conservatives being made of stouter stuff and, having prevailed, are ignoring, for the most part, any and all demonstrations and statements from the loser DEMOCRATS. Subsequently, it only follows that the perpetually angry and vexed Mooks have only the options "to turn on each other and eat their own". The Clinton and Sanders camps were very, very separate and I don't think the Sandernista's are reconciled over the way the Clinton's & "establishment DEMOCRAT insiders" bought the nomination and all the sleaze-ball "super delegates".
I'm luvin' it.
Green and Brown policies are driving California into bankruptcy, and when that happens, it's going to be financial mayhem and austerity riots.
"Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and brings out a weapon for its work." Isaiah 54:16
"Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, 'Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.'" 1 Samuel 13: 19
"Each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built." Nehemiah 4:17-18
"Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one." Luke 22:35-38
One can only hope. It'll be hard to blame it on minority Republicans or Conservatives.
The Left is in a full blown race to the bottom - which progressive liberal will win, and be the first to live naked in a cave, and eat raw food in the cold and the dark.
Much to our "collective" glee, we are witness to their "collective" pains and anguish. You just gotta luv it!
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