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Scott Wilk: Where’s the balance?

Posted: August 1, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 1, 2014 2:00 a.m.

I believe all Californians are environmentalists. Who doesn’t want clean air and clean water?

So I’ve always been troubled that single-issue advocacy groups have hijacked the term “environmentalist” and under that umbrella pushed specific agendas that do little more than swell the coffers of those advocacy groups, grow the size of government and ignore the economic impact on Californians.

I’m supportive of an integrated approach to energy policy including energy efficient or “green” buildings and retrofitting, more renewable energy, on-site smart technology and using clean-burning natural gas as a bridge until we have more technological breakthroughs.

Last year I attended a California Foundation for the Environment and Economy conference and was stunned to learn that California, which is the eighth largest economy in the world, only produces 1 percent of the global carbon emissions.

The challenges to the global environment emanate from emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil.

Like most Californians, I have no problem with government actions that will reduce the effects of greenhouse gas emissions through clean energy policies, so long as the approach and implementation is balanced.

However, California’s 2006 landmark law, AB 32, mandating the reduction of greenhouses gases as proscribed, is the worst brand of social engineering.

What so concerns me about the proponents of AB 32 and measures like it, is the way they completely “lose it” when given the opportunity to balance the interests between (in this case) the legitimate need to address greenhouse gas emissions and the even more legitimate need to do it in a manner that doesn’t cripple our economy.

Case in point: all of us are about to get pounded with dramatic increases in gas prices due to the California Air Resources Board’s decision to expand the Cap-and-Trade Program to include transportation fuels beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

If Californians are not now happy with paying over $4 per gallon today, wait until they get a load of $4.91 per gallon.

And that is just the beginning. Food and consumer goods prices will all rise due to increased transportation costs.

And with our only barely recovering economy, this will hit low- and middle-income families hardest; they will be spending even more of their paychecks buying food, goods and gas.

I was somewhat heartened by the fact that two weeks ago, 16 of the 55 Democratic members in the state Assembly joined business, agriculture and taxpayer groups from across the state in asking Gov. Jerry Brown and the Air Resources Board to delay the expansion of the Cap-and-Trade Program to gasoline and diesel, citing not only its effect on their constituents, California businesses and the economy, but also the still-unknown impact it will have on fuel markets — the hidden tax could even be higher than expected — $5 a gallon, anybody?

Recently the Public Policy Institute of California released a poll clearly showing that while Californians overwhelmingly support clean energy policies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the bottom of that support drops out when cap and trade is expanded to gasoline and diesel and the hidden gas tax is revealed.

And, while I am not surprised the Air Resources Board remains indifferent, I am a little surprised — and disappointed — that Gov. Brown, running for re-election, doesn’t seem to care either.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the increases won’t take place until January, when he believes he will be safely back in the governor’s corner office for another four years and safe from ever having to face the voters again.

I ask my constituents — indeed, all Californians — to write to our governor and remind him that we already pay among the highest gas prices and gas taxes in the nation, and that the last thing our struggling economy needs right now is another crippling blow to our pocketbooks — no matter how good the cause.

When will our leaders stop with these self-inflicted wounds to our economy? When will they start to say “no” to the single-issue extremists and the bureaucracies they spawn in Sacramento?

You know, 16 Democrats plus 25 Republicans support a delay in the hidden gas tax. That’s 41 votes in the 80-member Assembly.

Perhaps it’s time for a new governing coalition in the Assembly that can bring balance to the demands of science, our business climate and the welfare of our citizens.

To find a sample opposition letter and contact information for Gov.Brown on this issue, please visit my website at

Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, represents the 38th Assembly District, including the Santa Clarita and Simi valleys and portions of the northwestern San Fernando Valley.



ricketzz: Posted: August 1, 2014 10:22 a.m.

Another tool for big oil calls for moderation in the face of the biggest existential threat since forever. The time to do all the nice things you led with is passed. Don't stop doing them but don't expect them to save us. We need drastic action now. Like giving up hamburgers or your personal auto; we can't afford both. Like exterior lighting on central business district skyscrapers being turned off at 10:00P, when the tourists turn in.

$10 per gallon is about where we need to be when "externalities" are factored in. Big Oil is like a pony ride that uses your front lawn to charge a dollar a ride, then moves on leaving you with nothing but a
hoof marked lawn and tiny horse apples. If Big Oil was forced to clean up after itself the price of renewables would not seem at all non-competitive.

Your support of a rogue industry, one that pays millions to finance propaganda for profits, is not unexpected, but still saddening.

BrianBaker: Posted: August 1, 2014 10:53 a.m.

Sounds like a plan, ricketzz. We can just roll everything back to the Stone Age, and then we won't be "harming" Mother Earth anymore.

Won't that be fun?

Or how about this? Let's just commit mass suicide? Then harmony will be restored, the lion will sleep with the lamb, and all things will be just peachy and wonderful.

Care to lead by example?

zra: Posted: August 1, 2014 11:13 a.m.

Mr. Wilk,

If you want to do something to help the environment then do something about the ridiculous part-time carpool lane on the 14 freeway. Specifically, get rid of the double yellow lines, or get law enforcement to stop ticketing people for crossing them when the carpool lane is a normal lane; Like it is 90% of the time.

Nitsho: Posted: August 1, 2014 11:45 a.m.


Cricketzz seems to think the only that comes of petroleum is gas.

Nothing to see citizens. Move along.

scvsoccermom82: Posted: August 1, 2014 12:12 p.m.

thanks for sharing. i had no idea this extra tax was coming. so frustrating!

listenup: Posted: August 1, 2014 12:24 p.m.

Wilk being a leader again. Good job Scott.

AlwaysRight: Posted: August 1, 2014 2:10 p.m.

Very telling that Democrats are crossing over. The Enviro-crazies are now isolating themselves which is very good.

Scott Wilk for Governor.

politicsrock: Posted: August 1, 2014 5:37 p.m.

Great article- shows Governor Brown's true colors.

ricketzz: Posted: August 2, 2014 10:20 a.m.

BB: it is not about Mother Earth. It is about feeding your sorry butt going forward. These are not subjective musings; this is a guarantee of what is coming if we don't radically alter our course. Guaranteed. If science was gonna save us they'd have done it by now.

Quit your addiction to "news for caffeinated adrenaline freaks". All American TV News is crap*. Al Jazeera tells it better. But then they are owned by quirky billionaires who know where they want to put their money to do some good. Watch the international news on KCET. After a few days your blood pressure should start dropping.

Sheesh! I said give up beef and you heard "back to the stone age". Gronk!

*Free Speech TV is the exception

tech: Posted: August 2, 2014 12:07 p.m.

You have ricketzz's "guarantee", Brian. Subject closed.

Nitsho: Posted: August 2, 2014 12:12 p.m.

Figures cricketzz would watch Al Jazeera....

I've watched it and read it. Provda was more truthful.

Right2Left: Posted: August 2, 2014 12:47 p.m.

The foundation for Rep. Wilk's Op Ed seems to be based on how California is the eighth largest economy in the world, yet it only produces one percent of the world's carbon emissions. Somewhat interesting, but a few other points to consider:
1) California has only 0.5% of the global population, which therefore means that on average, we produce about twice as much as everyone else on the planet--not necessarily something for which we should be proud.
2) Even if ignore this stat, should we not be leaders in doing the right thing?

tech: Posted: August 2, 2014 2:22 p.m.

Parsing through your logic, R2L, are you positing that productivity and economic output is uniform globally? No doubt if we had the per capita economic output of Burkina Faso our carbon emissions would be lower. The USA, with approximately 4.5% of global population produces about 25% of global GDP. That takes energy, right?

Mr. Wilk's point is that the state is extremely efficient in energy utilization and that a balanced approach is required to maintain a competitive edge.

ricketzz: Posted: August 3, 2014 10:08 a.m.

You will fail in your quest to maintain a "competitive edge"(against whom?)

It's over. Your plan to industrialize the globe has run smack dab into reality. They more crap we burn the more of us that are going to die before our time. We have overdrawn at the Carbon Bank.

The ecosystem is in rapid transformation. Huge migrations are under way. Wars are being fought not only over oil, but for water and dry land. It can't get better without a fundamental shift away from "competitive edge" thinking. Business as usual has ended forever. Capitulate.

tech: Posted: August 3, 2014 1:04 p.m.

Put away your Doomsday sandwich board and enjoy your retirement, ricketzz. Are you donning sackcloth and ashes or something more comfy produced by the global economy you despise?

ricketzz: Posted: August 4, 2014 10:53 a.m.

Nobody is free until everyone is free. Your idiotic transcendence into fantasy land will not lessen the menace. You can tell yourself that this is like the Comet or y2k or the 2nd coming of Bruce Almighty; this is nothing like those manufactured and arbitrary non-threats.

Miami and Norfolk are partially underwater. Now. Not 15 years into the future. Permafrost and peat bogs are melting and not refreezing. Now. Acidification is disrupting the marine food cycle now.

In a few months I will stop trying to get you morons to wake up. After that it will be pointless. From that point forward there will be no point. That's when I start celebrating the failure of vertically organized power structures and the joke called civilization. I will cheer on the "meek" as they efficiently turn your rotten flesh into ammonia and fixated nitrogen below the scorched earth.

What is needed right now is for you to muster the courage to face reality. The people who use God to claim dominion means "drill baby, drill" are fakers working for ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil doesn't care about Jesus, unless that's what they call money. The love of money is the root of all evil.

tech: Posted: August 4, 2014 11:31 a.m.

"In a few months I will stop trying to get you morons to wake up. After that it will be pointless. From that point forward there will be no point." - ricketzz

Promise? The continuing collapse of climate alarmist apocalyptic hysteria is sweet schadenfreude indeed. Why not quit now to avoid further embarrassment, ricketzz?

CaptGene: Posted: August 4, 2014 12:22 p.m.

ricketzz: "After that it will be pointless. From that point forward there will be no point"

My favorite quote so far. Award winning content for sure.

ricketzz: Posted: August 5, 2014 9:14 a.m.

If you think the hysteria is waning it is because the people feeding news to your cocoon have tightened up on what they can't let you see. Out here in the real world the calamity is still under way. And getting worse.

tech: Posted: August 5, 2014 11:06 a.m.

From the article: "Sea level has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide since 1880…"

ricketzz: Posted: August 6, 2014 9:54 a.m.

The frightened reactionary right would probably be less afraid if they learned to acquire knowledge a whole sentence at a time, rather than "neat" sounding excerpts that appear to support the great lie.

"Sea level has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide since 1880, but it doesn't rise evenly. In the past 100 years, it has climbed about a foot or more in some U.S. cities."

One wonders why the right insists on ignoring inconvenient facts. One wonders why they deceptively edit the context out of their declarations.

tech: Posted: August 6, 2014 11:57 a.m.

I'm not frightened by your fear mongering. No worries, I read whole articles and call out relevant salient points.

How does AGW theory account for the consistent sea level rise prior to the Industrial Revolution, ricketzz? --edited.

CaptGene: Posted: August 6, 2014 12:44 p.m.

tech: "How does AGW theory account for the consistent sea level rise prior to the Industrial Revolution, ricketzz?"

There you go, bullying again.

hopeful: Posted: August 6, 2014 5:17 p.m.

For anyone, who is opposed to extending the cap and trade tax to gasoline and diesel, please go to: There, you can sign the petition, as well as learn more about this hidden tax that so many of our politicians don't want us to know about.

ricketzz: Posted: August 7, 2014 9:19 a.m.

There is no "AGW Theory". Sea level was dropping prior to the Industrial Era.

tech: Posted: August 7, 2014 6:17 p.m.

"Sea level was dropping prior to the Industrial Era." - ricketzz

From the article: "Sea level has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide since 1880…"

Long before increased global concentrations of CO2.

tech: Posted: August 7, 2014 6:26 p.m.

Thanks for the link, hopeful. Petition signed and letters sent to legislature.

KnottFerry: Posted: August 7, 2014 9:56 p.m.

Wilk is no leader. Wilk is no conservative. You've been Wilked, listenup. (You've Been Wilked!)

This is a true story of one's man's indomitable pursuit to obtain political power and personal gain through shrewd manipulation of others.

tech: Posted: August 7, 2014 10:17 p.m.

An ad hominem is irrelevant, KnottFerry. Care to address any points in the column or comments?

ricketzz: Posted: August 8, 2014 10:12 a.m.

The late 19th Century is when the atmospheric co2 began climbing from the historical range of 250 ppm to 280 ppm. Your arguments are old and shabby.

tech: Posted: August 8, 2014 12:52 p.m.

"However, sea level varied substantially in the past, ranging from 4-6 m (or more) above present during the last interglacial, 125,000 years ago, to 120 m below present at the peak of the last ice age, around 21,000-20,000 years ago. The subsequent great ice meltdown spanned 12,000 years, nudging sea level ever upward at an average rate of ~10 mm/yr. But several more rapid jumps punctuated the marine incursion (Fig. 1). A closer examination of these rapid sea level changes may help us better plan for the future."

If AGW is the primary cause of current sea level rise, how did this occur in the past?

ricketzz: Posted: August 9, 2014 10:04 a.m.

The same way it's happening now, ice on dry land is melting, heat is making volume of oceans expand. As the planet cools (as it should be doing now, the old Newsweek cover was right (almost)). Water is locked up as ice when the planet cools. A cooling should be starting now, but it's not.

The point of the quote above is that these dramatic climatic shifts can occur very rapidly. How much methane is released every day? How much is too much? Methane is the key to atmospheric temperatures now. Natural gas without the stinky odorizer. It comes with sulfur dioxide sometimes, You can smell sulfur dioxide all over East Texas.

ricketzz: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:47 a.m.

The Arctic is warming 4 times faster than the temperate zones. Albedo feedbacks are decimating sea ice, permafrost is bubbling with "marsh gas" methane ch4 which causes ten times more warming than co2. Heat Energy in the biosphere is expressed as weather. The more heat the more energetic the weather. Swiss Re, USA DoD, are very concerned; you know something they don't?

tech: Posted: August 15, 2014 11:57 a.m.

Earth has been as warm or warmer during inhabitation by Homo sapiens sapiens. If past is prologue, we'll continue to experience the long growth seasons and bursts in productivity the warming interval enables.

Enjoy it while you can!

ricketzz: Posted: August 17, 2014 10:16 a.m.

Here's where we wish we are wrong.

tech: Posted: August 18, 2014 3:48 p.m.

Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air

IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.

The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.

The deaths are "alarming. It's hard to say whether that's the location or the technology," said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. "There needs to be some caution."

The bird kills mark the latest instance in which the quest for clean energy sometimes has inadvertent environmental harm. Solar farms have been criticized for their impacts on desert tortoises, and wind farms have killed birds, including numerous raptors.

"We take this issue very seriously," said Jeff Holland, a spokesman for NRG Solar of Carlsbad, California, the second of the three companies behind the plant. The third, Google, deferred comment to its partners.

The $2.2 billion plant, which launched in February, is at Ivanpah Dry Lake near the California-Nevada border. The operator says it's the world's biggest plant to employ so-called power towers.

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