Wednesday, October 15, 2008

California Warming?

I sign many online petitions through Care2, but today I received this e-mail reply from the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger himself:

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me about protecting California's farm workers. The safety of workers whose jobs require them to be outdoors during the hottest season of the year is truly a matter of life or death. We must do everything in our power to ensure that no other workers suffer the same fate as Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez.

We have enacted the nation's first employer regulations to prevent heat illness, and I cannot stress enough that we are taking aggressive enforcement actions and working with employers as partners. Employers must provide water and heat illness training, allow workers to take breaks in the shade and have an emergency plan if someone becomes ill. There is no excuse for failing to protect worker safety and we will prosecute employers who violate these regulations to the full extent of the law.

My administration has already conducted several hundred employer training seminars for heat illness prevention, completed several thousand surprise worksite inspections, and issued several hundreds of thousands of dollars in citations and temporary stop-work orders to employers in violation of these laws. In conjunction with the Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health, we will continue to do so.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write and express your concerns. I am confident that by working together, we can prevent any further outdoor worker deaths.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Farm Workers Union has their response at this link.

I don't remember hearing about farm workers dying in the fields like has tragically occurred this year. Is this another sign of global warming? If we want to be able to continue to have food harvested safely, we had better pay attention to these deaths as a warning to start doing things differently, in the fields and OFF.

So where do we Non-Farmworkers go from here?

The road we take may be determined on Nov 4th.

Mr T. Boone Pickens is trying to play Governor in California by putting, Proposition 10, an initiative, on the November ballot. He's an oil-made billionaire, our version of a sheik. He wants our cars and trucks to run on biofuels and NATURAL GAS. That's the stuff that floats on OIL fields.

Natural gas has a lower carbon footprint
, but it's still a fossil fuel. And we're still buying from the same cartels. Yes, he says he supports wind and solar, but I'll wait to see if he actually invests his money, instead of $5 Billion in CA State Bonds, that will cost $10 Billion to repay.

The State expects more revenue from DMV fees and sales tax as Californians are offered incentives and rebates to encourage purchase of alternative fuel vehicles, primarily to those that run on biodiesel and natural gas. How much this would reduce our purchase of offshore oil, no one can be sure.

None of TBoone's campaign is convincing environmental organizations in California.

Proposition 7 was also financed by another billionaire, Peter Sperling, of Arizona, and whose father founded the University of Phoenix. Peter builds solar thermal power plants and wants to change the rules in California to make it easier to get permits for such plants in California.
The proposition has even more opposition than the Sheik Pickens' plan.

The League of California Voters says the following on their website:

Proposition 7 Vote No

No on Proposition 7: Protect small solar producers and encourage solar energy production

Proposition 7 fails to address the obstacles that have been identified by conservation groups, energy agencies, the renewables industry, and others as barriers to reaching our renewable energy goals. In addition, the proposal jeopardizes achievement of the current requirement of California law, which requires that 20 percent of electricity sold to customers be renewable by 2010.

Proposition 7 threatens the status of small-scale renewable resources under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Proposition 7 authors amended the definition of “eligible renewable energy resource” by replacing the phrase “an electric generating facility” with “a solar and clean energy facility.” The proposed change puts the entire spectrum of small-scale renewable generation technologies at risk, and requires a two-thirds legislative majority to provide a remedy, leaving Californians stuck with a flawed and inflexible renewable energy policy. The success of California’s renewable energy future is too critical to achieving our clean energy goals to lock in fatally flawed legislation. Environmental, labor and consumer organizations are united in our commitment to the success of California’s renewable energy future– but we are also united in our opposition to Prop 7, which will not deliver that future

Proposition 10 Vote No

No on Proposition 10: Protect the environment and taxpayers — and stop the alternative energy scam

A fossil fuel corporation owned by Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens spent $3 million dollars to put Proposition 10 on the ballot. That same corporation will almost certainly reap the rewards if Prop 10 passes. California taxpayers will be stuck subsidizing big trucking companies at a cost of $335 million per year; they’ll shell out a total of $2.5 billion in subsidies to trucking companies to purchase “clean” vehicles. Prop 10 does not require any reduction in global warming emissions for trucking companies that get “clean” vehicle handouts of up to $50,000 per truck – and Prop 10 excludes hybrids from its definition of a “clean” vehicle.

The bottom line: California already faces a $15 billion budget deficit crisis, and Prop 10’s raid on the state’s coffers will mean cuts to our schools, our public safety and our health programs. Prop 10 is biased towards investments in natural gas technology— over cleaner alternatives such as wind and solar technology—while draining California’s already over-committed general fund. Although perhaps rooted in a commendable goal of environmental progress, Prop 10 is bad policy for California’s taxpayers and California’s environment.

One Pro comment that I read on the Popular Mechanics web site said this:
It is rather remarkable that California's Prop. 10 is a head scratcher. People with extraordinary resources to make change happen to be the people who will profit from an energy conversion. How is that a problem? How much do the Saudis and Iranians make on the oil they sell us? In the case of the Saudis, it costs $15 a barrel to extract oil. We're sending trillions of dollars offshore, and people want to debate the merits of a plan to replace 20 percent of these imports with natural gas. Never mind that we're fighting a war that will cost trillions before the last soldier is sent home. These are but a few of the compelling reasons to get behind NG conversion. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D., Ill.) is from a state that will benefit from a bigger push on ethanol. He has introduced a bill that would provide tax credits for the purchase of natural-gas vehicles and home-refueling systems, as well as to encourage gas stations to install natural-gas pumps. Pickens develops a plan that will save commuters millions, provide a stop-gap on global warming while reducing oil dependency as we transition to renewable fuels, and he is cast as a villain. We can probably can safely say T. Boone is not financing terrorists with the money he makes from oil and gas. If a profit has to be made -- and it does -- wouldn't it be a far sight better to have someone benefit who is not bent on our destruction. You can read more about NG use in Utah. For more on the Pickens' plan click here. From the Wall Street Journal story: "If we started moving to natural-gas vehicles in large numbers, even if we didn't go to renewables, we'd have plenty of natural gas," said Rich Kolodziej, president of Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a Washington trade association. The industry's goal is to replace 20% of the diesel used in the U.S. -- about 10 billion gallons, or 1.3 billion cubic feet -- with natural gas by 2025, Mr. Kolodziej said.

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