News

Southern California is getting cheated on cap and trade: Guest commentary

June 14th, 2017
With the adoption of Assembly Bill 32 in 2006, California established ambitious greenhouse-gas reduction goals to combat the growing effects of global climate change. For the past decade, the state has implemented a variety of programs to help meet this mandate, including establishing a cap-and-trade auction.
As of last Dec. 31, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund had collected $3.5 billion in cap-and-trade revenue and awarded $1.7 billion.
Somehow, however, Southern California has become an afterthought in the cap-and-trade process.
    According to the Air Resources Board, less than 20 percent went to projects within our six-county region, even though we account for 48 percent of the state’s population.
    Has Sacramento forgotten that Southern California, on its own, would rank as the 16th largest economy in the world, is the nation’s third-largest manufacturing center and contributes more than $90 billion a year to the gross domestic product? Or that freight and goods movement account for one-third of all jobs and economic activity in our region? Or that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rank No. 1 and 2 in the country, taking in 40 percent of the nation’s imports?
    All of California benefits from this. Conversely, without our massive economic base, the state would suffer significant hardship.
    Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have agreed to withhold significant, discretionary cap-and-trade expenditures from the approved 2016-17 budget because of disagreements. Our region’s legislators are engaged in negotiations on how to further refine how the state should spend these funds and ensure greater equity.
    Greater allocation of cap-and-trade funds to Southern California would enable us to grow our economy while improving the environmental performance of our community development, local transportation and business operations, resulting in better air quality. For years, Southern California has committed itself to striking this critical balance. That should be recognized and bolstered by Sacramento in the way it distributes cap-and-trade funds.
    There also needs to be a greater appreciation of the fact that Southern California is fundamentally different than the Bay Area and the rest of the state when it comes to the kinds of projects cap-and-trade is intended to support.
    Geographically, we’re much more spread out. Our economies, too, are very different. Southern California’s is heavily reliant on manufacturing and goods movement, requiring a sophisticated freight network of highways and rail lines.
    Already, Greater Los Angeles ranks as the most congested metropolitan area in the country. With projected population growth of 4 million people over the next quarter-century, robust investment in our transportation infrastructure is necessary — not optional.
    Directing cap-and- trade money our way — in the right kinds of projects — will help reduce congestion, improve individual and region-wide economic opportunity, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. While there is still time in the budget process, legislators must direct a significantly higher portion of those funds to Southern California.
    The Southern California Leadership Council and SCAG support the intent of AB 32 and we have been working hard to achieve its objectives ever since it was passed. Now, it’s time for the Legislature to bring greater equity, transparency and accountability to the program to prove that it can work for Southern California and for our entire state.
      Kish Rajan is president of the Southern California Leadership Council. Hasan Ikhrata is executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments.

      Striking the Right Balance on Air Quality

      June 14th, 2017

      Striking the Right Balance on Air Quality

      Richard Lambros
      Executive Director, Southern California Leadership Council
      Friday, March 3rd, 2017
      California, long-known for its environmental leadership, also boasts the world’s sixth largest economy. For Southern California, with our large, diverse population, the leadership challenge we face is how to create more good-paying, middle class jobs while improving our quality of life – cleaner air and water, reduced road congestion and increased affordable housing.
      Nowhere is this balancing act better illustrated than at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) – the regional air board responsible for managing air emissions from stationary sources in four counties – Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino.
      For the past four years, SCAQMD Board and staff have engaged with stakeholders to develop the latest iteration of the region’s Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP). SCAQMD staff held hundreds of meeting and forums, generated thousands of pages of documents and produced a final draft Plan that is balanced and strong. In fact, SCAQMD staff indicated at the February meeting where the Plan was discussed that this AQMP will set us on course to achieve federal clean air standards (something that the district has struggled with in the past) and does so at a pace that is equal to or faster than prior AQMPs. This AQMP will achieve these standards in a way that also allows for continued economic growth.
      It should be no surprise that this Plan is both balanced and strong given the robust stakeholder process that developed it. This point was not lost on SCAQMD’s long-time chair, Dr. William Burke, who commented at the start of the February 3 Board hearing, “There has been more engagement and intellectual exchange on this AQMP than ever before.”
      Unfortunately, at that same February SCAQMD Board meeting, several Board members dropped last-minute amendments that would create whole new areas of regulation and, if added to the Plan, would throw its all-important balance out of whack.
      What’s problematic about these proposed amendments is that, unlike the rest of the plan, they are neither scientifically nor economically analyzed and therefore their true environmental benefits and economic impacts are yet unknown. As a result, these amendments could potentially wreak economic harm on vast sectors of job producing industries with little corresponding benefit in cleaner air.
      One of these amendments seeks to adopt an Indirect Source Rule (ISR) which particularly targets the goods movement sector – ports, airports, truckers, distribution centers and more. Goods movement is the one of the largest sector in the Southern California economy, producing more than 14% of the region’s GDP and employing over 1.4 million people ranging from longshoremen and shippers at the ports to warehouse workers and railroad operators in the Inland Empire. Perhaps more importantly, it is the source of many of our region’s best paying blue collar jobs… jobs that have become more important as other blue collar sectors in our region have declined.
      Knowing this makes it easier to understand why many of those who track the region’s economy are concerned when an eleventh hour ISR amendment is introduced with no information as to the mechanics of how it would work. The risks of adopting such a potentially job killing amendment without analysis just doesn’t seem to make sense, especially given that the proposed AQMP will already achieve identified clean air goals for the region.
      The ISR amendment is just one of several last minute unanalyzed proposals that could collectively, if adopted, create significant imbalance and unintended consequences in the region.
      Instead, the better course of action is for the SCAQMD Board to adopt the proposed AQMP on March 3rd without amendment. This approach would honor the robust four-year stakeholder process and maintain the all-important balance of jobs and the environment which is carefully crafted into the Plan.
      # # #
      Richard Lambros is the executive director of the Southern California Leadership Councila nonprofit, nonpartisan organization formed to provide leadership on major public policies critical to economic vitality, job growth and the quality of life in Southern California led by three former Governors – Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian – and over two dozen President/CEOs of major companies and agencies.
      Save

      Op-Ed How to fix California’s economy: Regulation, legislation and education

      January 7th, 2015
      Op-Ed How to fix California's economy: Regulation, legislation and education By: GEORGE DEUKMEJIAN, PETE WILSON AND GRAY DAVIS Publication: Los Angeles Times Date: 1/6/15

      Demystifying Southern California’s Leadership Council: A Non-Partisan, Regional Public Policy Champion

      June 3rd, 2013
      Demystifying Southern California's Leadership Council: A Non-Partisan, Regional Public Policy Champion Date: 5/31/13

      Viewpoints: Preserve CEQA’s Goals, End its Abuse

      February 12th, 2013
      Viewpoints: Preserve CEQA's Goals, End its Abuse 2/3/13

      Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Congress & California

      February 12th, 2013
      Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Congress & California 1/3/13

      CEQA Modernization – The End or Just The Beginning?

      February 12th, 2013
      CEQA Modernization - The End or Just The Beginning? Date: 8/28/12

      Keep California Green and Golden with CEQA Reforms

      July 16th, 2012
      Keep California Green and Golden with CEQA Reforms Date: 7/12/12

      Evidence is In: Tax Credits Work for CA Film Biz

      July 6th, 2012
      Evidence is In: Tax Credits Work for CA Film Biz Date: 6/18/12

      Incentives Sharpen State’s Competitive Edge

      July 6th, 2012
      Incentives Sharpen State’s Competitive Edge Date: 5/08/12

      Fox & Hounds: Putting Water Wars at Rest … And All Californians Win!

      November 29th, 2011
      Fox & Hounds: Putting Water Wars at Rest ... And All Californians Win!

      Southern California Leadership Council Announces New Executive Team

      July 25th, 2011
      Southern California Leadership Council Announces New Executive Team

      Jack Kyser’s Legacy is State Plan for Recovery

      January 11th, 2011
      Gray Davis and Glen Becerra: Jack [Kyser]'s legacy is state plan for recovery

      Press Release: Fight pollution Without Causing More Business and Job Flight: Southern California Leadership Council Advises CARB on AB 32 Implementation

      October 1st, 2010
      Press Release: Fight pollution Without Causing More Business and Job Flight: Southern California Leadership Council Advises CARB on AB 32 Implementation

      Reuters: Climate Change Accelerates Water Hunt in U.S. West

      March 9th, 2009
      Reuters: Climate Change Accelerates Water Hunt in U.S. West

      New York Times: Economic Crisis Complicates California’s Goals on Climate

      February 25th, 2009
      New York Times: Economic Crisis Complicates California’s Goals on Climate

      California Governors Decry Red Tape, Environmental Review Process Stalls Stimulus Action

      February 2nd, 2009
      Washington Times: California Governors Decry Red Tape, Environmental Review Process Stalls Stimulus Action

      Invest Now in Trade Corridors or Remain Congested in Traffic

      January 18th, 2009
      Invest Now in Trade Corridors or Remain Congested in Traffic Op-ed by Governors Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and George Deukmejian.

      Newswire Today: Economic Stimulus Key to Solving State’s Budget Crisis

      August 22nd, 2008
      Newswire Today: Economic Stimulus Key to Solving State’s Budget Crisis

      Press Release: Economic Stimulus Key to Solving State’s Budget Crisis

      August 21st, 2008
      Press Release: Economic Stimulus Key to Solving State’s Budget Crisis

      Southern California Leadership Council Says Millions of Jobs, Billions of Dollars Are At Stake with AB 32

      July 26th, 2008
      Topix.net: Southern California Leadership Council Says Millions of Jobs and Billions of Dollars Are At Stake with AB 32 - Read the comments here.

      Los Angeles Times: A New Water Strategy: Without One, Entire California Economy is at Risk.

      May 5th, 2008
      Los Angeles Times: A New Water Strategy: Without One, the Entire California Economy is at Risk. Op-ed by Governors George Deukemejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis.

      The Urgent Need for a New Water Strategy

      May 2nd, 2008
      The Urgent Need for a New Water Strategy Op-ed by Governors George Deukemejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis.

      VerdeXchange: Southern California Leadership Council/LAEDC Report Lists Implementation Options For Business Leaders.

      February 1st, 2008
      VerdeXchange: Southern California Leadership Council/LAEDC Report Lists Implementation Options For Business Leaders.

      San Diego Union Tribune: A Plan B for Funding California’s Future

      November 16th, 2007
      San Diego Union Tribune: A Plan B for Funding California's Future Op-ed by George Argyros, John Hawkins, Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian.

      Riverside Press Enterprise: Enlist the Private Sector to Build Roads, Clean Air

      October 24th, 2007
      Riverside Press Enterprise: Enlist the Private Sector to Build Roads, Clean Air Op-ed by George Argyros and John Hawkins.

      Los Angeles Daily News: State’s Title as Gateway to Trade Threatened

      June 12th, 2007
      Los Angeles Daily News: State's Title as Gateway to Trade Threatened SCLC Director Lee Harrington and LAEDC President Bill Allen are quoted.

      “Protecting California’s High Quality of Life” Advertorial

      November 1st, 2006
      "Protecting California's High Quality of Life" Advertorial

      Robert Wolf Seeks to Unite the Region in Support of Infrastructure Investment

      September 1st, 2006
      Metro Investment Report: SCLC Co-Chair Robert Wolf Seeks to Unite the Region in Support of Infrastructure Investment

      Politicians Should Set Aside Partisanship, Drive Money Toward the State’s Roads

      April 28th, 2006
      Riverside Press Enterprise: Break the Logjam: Politicians Should Set Aside Partisanship, Drive Money Toward the State's Roads Op-Ed by George Argyros and Gray Davis
      Page 1 of 212