California’s Environmental Police

California’s Environmental Police

Pump jacks and wells in an oil field on the Monterey Shale formation near McKittrick, Calif., on March 23, 2014. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Roger Canfield

Roger Canfield

3/27/2024

Updated: 3/27/2024

Commentary
It takes multiple environmental agencies with totalitarian powers to regulate air, water, chemistry, nature, and freedom in California.

California Environmental Protection Agency

The second highest building in California’s capital, Sacramento, is the headquarters of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA). Cal EPA’s nearly 5,000 employees have their own safe spaces from nature, cars, and citizens. They are cocooned in their own bubble with security guards and fine art in a low-energy and low-emission building with bike racks and no parking.
Employees receive subsidized light rail tickets. Caught using a “verboten” rodenticide to kills rats infesting the Cal EPA environs, EPA caved under pressure. Rats, fleas, plague, hantavirus, and typhus organisms breathed a sigh of relief.
The EPA building is the home of six omnipotent deep state bureaucracies: California Air Resources Board (CARB), State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB), Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), and Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
At the top of the pyramid of most notable power, with many competitors, are the two agencies California Resource Agency and California Coastal Commission.

California Resource Agency

The California Resource Agency, its 10 conservancies, and county, city, and nonprofit organizations are devoted to preserving all of California’s natural resources from human desecration such as recreation, forestry, mining, and all in between.
The federal and state government owns about 52 percent of California’s 100 million acres. Not good enough—the totalitarian Resource Agency has declared that 75 percent of California is wildland subject to its powers and regulations.
Unfortunately, about 28 percent of such sacred ground is still in private hands, a problem conservancy set asides intend to fix. Despite the resistance of farmers, ranchers, and other private property owners, conservancies are “voluntarily” absorbing private land into woodland, wildlife, nature, or “agricultural” preservations.
Meanwhile, the federal government designations—national parks, monuments, wild and scenic, wilderness—enforce a wide range of denials of access to “public” lands to ordinary citizens, including bike trails, fire breaks, housing, forestry, and mining.
Access for logging, mining, farming, motorized recreation, etc. is limited or outright prohibited on such newly sanctified lands on top of existing federal lands. Tree huggers, banning logging and burns (controlled and natural), have allied with bark beetles to kill 129 million trees, fueling catastrophic firestorms.
Multiple generations of farmers, ranchers, and residents no longer have full use of or access to their own private property. Many owners squat as serfs on their own homesteads and have limited or no access to preserves of the green regime’s eco-kingdom. The public at large usually has limited or no access to public lands—the “King’s forest”?

California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission, the eco-state’s Marine Corps, specializes in driving private property owners off their own land and out of their homes. The Commission also usurps the powers of elected local officials.
Individual developers, homeowners, and farmers seldom bother to appeal the Commission’s edicts. The Commission writes, interprets, and enforces the law and then approves, rejects, or reforms any development.
The Commission’s near-dictatorial powers extend to the “coastal zone” as defined by the Commission itself. That’s 1,100 miles from the Oregon border to the Mexican border, seaward three miles, and from a few hundred feet to five miles inland.
With authority to issue cease-and-desist orders, the Commission has declared potholes and mud puddles wetlands. It has stopped Fourth of July fireworks, oyster farming, liquefied natural gas terminals, etc.

California Air Resources Board

CARB, the eco-state’s Air and Space Force, has summarily convicted air pollution for causing lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). California has never had London’s or Beijing’s killer smog, but the Board gains power based on such fears.
CARB also declares that human-generated carbon is warming the climate. In fact, compared to historical and geological time, carbon is now in very short supply, a drought.
CARB sees itself leading the science of air pollution. Yet CARB science is suspect since leftist ideology drives its leaders and its science. Mary Nichols, CARB chairperson, helped the Hayden-Fonda team pass Proposition 65. John Froines, CARB’s science advisor, was a member the Hayden political team. After being caught illegally serving 25 years on CARB’s three-year term limited Scientific Review Panel, Mr. Froines left.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) helped design and implement CARB’s AB 32, Cap and Trade. EDF is an accomplished serial exploiter of human fears. EDF promotes alarmist fears of DDT, chemicals, acid rain, (Soviet fabricated) “nuclear winter,” coal, oil, global warming, etc. Such leftist biases drive CARB’s sloppy science.
Coincidentally, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation intentionally exploited environmental issues—acid rain, nuclear winter, GMOs, vaccinations, and fracking—to weaken the United States. The Soviet Union had its own ruling party bureaucrats, “nomenkultura,” unchecked by either popular consent or individual rights.
Malcomb Muggeridge said communists warred against the “earth; with the nature of things and people; with life itself.”
Given its ideological origins, condemning the “economic poisons” of capitalism, CARB’s claims about air pollution are suspect. CARB denies requests from the independent Little Hoover Commission and the State Auditor to provide a “cost/benefit” study of CARB’s limits on carbon emissions.
The cost is high. The Cap and Trade “tax” diverts billions of dollars out of the California economy into government coffers. The benefits are marginal. California’s air pollution is among the lowest on the planet.
Smoking, not air pollution, explains almost 90 percent of deaths from lung cancer and COPD. Similarly, fine particulate matter (PM), dirt blowing in the wind, ruins visibility and irritates existing lung conditions but rarely kills.
Nature’s own cancer agents are thousands of times more powerful than synthetic chemicals. Naturally occurring radon is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi, e.g., pneumonia, influenza, and mold do kill. They are not merely statistical associates or correlates of death. Guilt by statistical association is not science; it presumes; it jumps to conclusions. It proves nothing.
Compared to unhealthy individual behavior—smoking, dirty homes (cockroaches, rats, dust mites), obesity, alcoholism—chemical pollutants are insignificant. The air inside the most sanitary homes is two and five times more polluted than the air outside. Hospital admissions, actual medical diagnoses, find air pollution is a very small factor.
The bad air board’s major target is gasoline-fueled cars and diesel trucks. This is an authoritarian assault on freedom and commerce. California works tirelessly to drive people out of the mobility and safety of their cars. The Board blames the car for air pollution and death from lung diseases. Yet individuals are responsible for their own unhealthy lifestyles, including reckless and drunken driving.
The environmentalists care little about individual responsibility and freedom. They care most about collective conformity, obedience, to their orders.
To reduce global warming, California law aims to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled—freedom itself. The environmentally correct ways to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled are sidewalks, bike paths, buses, trains, telecommuting, and carpools. Don’t go far, and if you do, feel guilty about it.
With the able assistance of the California Legislature and its Department of Transportation, California diverts (steals) 80 percent of gas and sales taxes on gasoline to more environmentally correct uses. Agencies divert funds away from voter-approved taxes for highway projects. California builds or repairs few roads and bridges.
In the deceitful name of clean air, California’s traffic jams and delays produce SMOG. Indeed, highways with carpools have the most air pollution. They remove one lane or more away from the flow of traffic.
Preferring “smart” growth, high-density housing, California opposes affordable suburban housing. Life in high-rise Soviet-style housing projects, like rats in cages, is filthy and frightful. Treating human beings like livestock and serfs keeps them under the social control of their eco-lords.
In 1990, California ordered carmakers to produce electric cars, a.k.a. “Zero-Emission” Vehicles. Policy overlords expected to jumpstart innovation and repeal the laws of physics, the energy storage capacity of batteries.
Driven by dreams of “zero-emission” vehicles and renewable energy, batteries are good. They store solar and wind power at costs far greater than the cost of generating solar and wind power. Competing cheaper energy and efficient internal combustion engines are bad.
Tesla has received billions in subsidies in a failing two-century pursuit of the Holy Grail, a magic battery. Such a battery would defy the inherent physical storage capacity of batteries, physics. The internal combustion engine is far more efficient.
A battery recycling facility east of Los Angeles operated without a full permit for more than three decades. A bankrupt Solyndra received billions on promises of super solar panels defying a fifty-year-old limit of 33 percent efficiency.
AB 32 revenue from the purchases of emission allowances is a source of funds for PC projects. Such PC causes include renewable energy, high-speed rail, and urban forestry. The true results are high business taxes, among the nation’s highest residential electricity (29 percent) and gasoline prices (26 percent), and a minuscule impact upon the climate of planet earth.

Bureau of Automotive Repair

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) leads a totalitarian assault up your car’s tailpipe and out of your back pocket. Outraged by hazy air ruining their views of the San Gabriel Mountains, zealots stamped out auto emissions.
California tests for hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide, elements of smog. BAR’s regulations also extend to visibility, evaporation, and diesel engines. Newer cars are exempt but pay smog fees nonetheless. For decades, federal regulations have ordered lower emissions on all new cars.
Almost 100 percent of cars today have low emissions. Yet 10 percent fail California’s insanely tough smog test. Failing a smog test may cost $2,000 to repair, taking another affordable car and its occupant off evil roadways.
Hence, California’s annual smog tests are a scam for collecting more taxes on Californians’ “perverse love of their cars” (and freedom). Gas, sales, registration, and car taxes are not enough. Paying cash for clunkers, cars having already passed smog tests, separates poor people from affordable transportation (which jobless and homeless Californians no longer need.)
The regulation of diesel particulate matter (PM), based on the flawed study of a CARB fake Ph.D., kicks thousands of small independent truck owners out of business. They cannot afford new trucks, new engines, or income taxes on subsidies for replacements. Some part of the trucker fines will pay for the urban gardens and trees that need the nitrates diesel trucks generate.

South Coast Air Quality Management District

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, the eco-state’s Army, Southern Command, has perfected the bureaucratic art of exercising the death penalty on all stationary sources of air pollution not covered in smog regulations.
The District placed a moratorium on all oil production off the California coast after the Santa Barbara oil spill. The District targets the bad fumes of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds.
The hysterical claim that acid rain is killing forests and polluting lakes is false. A 10-year $570 million study, the National Acid Precipitation Assessment, concluded that acid rain was neither widespread nor serious. Indeed, nitrates help forests grow better.
So eliminating one bad-smelling “greenhouse gas,” sulfur dioxide, has only succeeded in reducing regional hazy skies. A few days of wildfire, a volcano eruption, or an asteroid easily wipes out a full year’s emissions from all automobiles. Any gains from the District’s regulation of air pollution are minor.
Regardless, the District sets arbitrary limits on emissions of carbon dioxide (plant food) for targeted businesses and some residences. Conducting successful house-to-house urban warfare, the District ferrets out persons and businesses using paint, briquettes, wood ovens, and deodorants.
The consequences are far from frivolous. The all-powerful District has driven tens of thousands of mom-and-pop enterprises out of business. It has virtually annihilated California’s independent gasoline stations down to only 15 percent of 10,000 stations.
While heavy metals and solvents from petroleum oils smell bad, there is little evidence that their concentration in water is a health risk (it can be measured in parts per billion and trillion). Zealots oppose pipelines that are less likely to spill fuel than ships or trucks.
In short, the District has waged a war on economic opportunities for the poor, the young, and the middle class.

Water Resources Control Board

The Water Resources Control Board (WRCB), “control” being its prime directive, exercises near absolute power over California’s water, both its supply and its quality.
Despite a doubling of California’s population, the Board has halted the building of major water storage, new dams, for fifty years. It and others are working to tear down existing dams. On Klamath River, a tsunami of silt is killing wildlife and fishing.
Urban residents consume only 6 percent of California’s abundant fresh water. The Board orders them to consume less, conserve more. Use no more than 55 gallons per person per day, less in the future. Local water agencies face fines of $1,000 per day.
The policy is to “let them drink toilet water and seawater,” expensively filtered at no less than five times the cost of fresh water. By taxation and rationing, the Board is diverting water from humans to fish, most of them in the Pacific.

Department of Water Resources

The WRCB and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) steal voter-approved bond monies. Time and again, California voters are deceived into believing phony promises to build new water storage. Yet only 12 percent of bond funds are spent on new water storage. Instead, the Board and DWR squander bond funds on scores of local and special interest environmental projects, e.g., using water bond money to tear down four Klamath area dams.
The omnipotent WRCB acts as if farmers are wasting water growing food. By law, water must be equitably distributed, pumped “equally” (50 percent); half to human beings (if you count agriculture), half to fish (in the water-short Pacific Ocean).
The WRCB’s second absolute power is water quality. It defines clean water as it wishes. It hypes up public fear of tap water, the cleanest water on earth. Most violations of state clean water regulations and laws are clerical, technical, minor, even trivial and frivolous infractions presenting little or no danger to public health or the environment.
Less than 1 percent of all the violations of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act involve organic chemicals like pesticides. A full 70 percent of dangerous clean water violations are disease organisms, requiring increased use of chemicals, chlorine, and a hot sun to keep water safe. The Board intends to save not only rivers and wells, but also the fragile 187-quintillion-gallon Pacific Ocean from human pollution.
The primary achievement of the WRCB is scaring citizens, corporations, and local governments out of money to pay off lawsuit-chasing attorneys, environmental consultants, prevailing wage unions, and state-certified crony capitalist contractors to build water treatment plants that release water cleaner than it comes out of the sky, rivers, lakes, or wells.
Scared about the dangers, look, taste, and smell of tap water, many turn to bottled water, doubling their ingestion of micro-plastic particles and, of course, fouling a few acres of the 64 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.
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Roger Canfield

Roger Canfield

Author

Roger Canfield has written four books on the political influence and intelligence operations of China inside the United States. He is a Navy veteran and has a bachelor's degree in political science and a doctorate in government from the Claremont Graduate University. He has twice been a Republican nominee for the U.S. Congress. His books can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/author/rogercanfield

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