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|State of California
|November 2, 2010 Election
By Peter AllenCandidate for Attorney General
This information is provided by the candidate
Our environment is where we live. We should keep it clean, and not pollute, contaminate, damage, or destroy it. The argument that Nevada and China foul their own nests, so we should too - so we can stay "competitive" - simply does not make sense.
We need to keep our own house in order, with healthy rivers, drinkable water, breathable air, fertile soil, living creatures, and no poisons in our food. If we don't do that here, how can we ask anyone else to do that? Sure, maybe this means that the clothes and machinery made here will cost a bit more. But how much does cancer cost? How much does it cost to clean up the toxic messes left behind by the companies that did not want to pay the cost of cleaning up after themselves? How much does it cost to have undrinkable water, or exhausted farmland, or lost fisheries? We will pay either way. We can either pay a little now to do it right, or we and our children and grandchildren will pay a lot later.
California is fortunate to have abundant renewable energy resources. We have prime locations for wind, solar, geothermal, and wave power. While California has taken significant steps to expand renewable electric generation, we can and must do more.
Similarly, California has been a leader in energy efficiency, with our per capita energy consumption remaining flat for the past ten years, while the rest of the US keeps using more and more energy per capita. Again, we need to build aggressively on this past success.
California has two nuclear power plants. It does not need any more. Even without considering the waste disposal issue, nuclear plants simply do not make sense in California. Nuclear plants are too expensive, and require massive subsidies to make their costs competitive. Nuclear plants need large amounts of water for cooling. Inland, water is too scarce to provide the quantities required to cool a nuclear power plant. The coast has earthquake faults and cities, making it unsuitable for new nuclear plants. Renewable generation is simply a better investment.
California is a major oil producer. Even with declining production, California is the fourth largest oil producing state in the country. In 2009, California produced an average of over 630,000 barrels per day. But we are the only state without an oil severance tax - even Alaska, Texas and Louisiana tax all oil that is produced in those states. Those states brought in millions of dollars from their oil severance taxes. California brought in zero. A tax of just $2 per barrel of oil would bring in almost $460 million.
Drilling for more oil off the California coast is a bad idea, and will not guarantee that more or cheaper oil will come to California. California's coast is too valuable, both as habitat for fish, birds, and other animals, and as a scenic and tourist attraction, to risk drilling for oil that will just get sent to whatever country will pay the most to the oil companies. California's coast is worth more to California without oil wells than with them.
Climate change is happening, and human activity is largely responsible. With our long coastline, our reliance upon snowpack for water, and the importance of agriculture to our economy, California is particularly vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change.
We need to take steps to reduce our contribution to climate change and mitigate its impacts on California. This will not be easy, but the costs of taking action now are less than scrambling to repair the damage later. While both a carbon tax and cap-and-trade have their flaws, they both have the potential to start the process of acknowledging the real costs of greenhouse gasses.
California has subsidized cars for too long, and in general has starved public transportation. Now with the state's budget crisis, we are continuing to give cars a free ride while cutting public transportation. This is wasteful and counterproductive, and in the long run will cost the state more money. We need to make cars and trucks bear a fair share of the true costs they impose on California, and we need to shift our support away from cars to accessible, affordable and widespread public transportation. Public transportation needs to be good enough and cheap enough that it is easily usable.
Position Paper 3
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