While exceedingly eager to accept credit for California’s climate leadership at the recent COP21 talks in Paris, Governor Jerry Brown’s actual record on climate policy has been considerably less appealing to climate activists than one might realize by reading and watching the mainstream press.
Here are a few news items that observers of California’s climate policy scene may find illuminating.
Joshua Frank points out in CounterPunch that it took Brown a full two months to react to the disastrous, continuing methane leak at SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon facility in Porter Ranch, near Los Angeles.
Might the receipt of $3.2 million + in campaign contributions (to Brown & his favored ballot initiatives, like Prop 30) from the oil and gas industry have some influence on his delay?
Or perhaps his sister’s very profitable role on the Board of Directors of SoCalGas’s parent company?
Will Parrish notes in last week’s East Bay Express that “California’s cap-and-trade system, which has been touted as a model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, allows timber companies to clear-cut forests.”
Meanwhile Brown allows fracking in California to continue unabated, though it may be directly related to the Porter Ranch leak, says Maya Golden-Krasner of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Nichola Groom reports for Reuters that state and federal officials, SoCalGas, PG&E and others have been aware for years that California’s aging gas storage infrastructure was in desperate need of evaluation and further regulation. According to Groom, “The leaking well’s owner, Southern California Gas Co, warned state utility regulators in 2014 of “major failures” without a rate hike to pay for comprehensive inspections of 229 storage wells.”
Lots of questions for Gov. Brown, should activists and journalists have the opportunity and willingness to ask.