Left-coast lawmakers envision a greener America.
As the new U.S. government takes shape, at least one trend seems clear: California is taking over the country. Well, maybe not “taking over,” exactly. But leading.
With such Californians as Lawrence-Berkeley National Lab Director Steven Chu ascending to DOE secretary and Rep. Henry Waxman becoming chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, leaders from the Left Coast definitely are taking a higher profile in the new Washington regime—particularly with regard to energy and environmental policies. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on one’s perspective.
“It’s true that federal policy as well as the myriad state policies will continue emulating California policy,” says Tom Tanton, a senior environmental policy fellow with the Pacific Research Institute. “ We can only hope lawmakers will come to understand that California energy policy hasn’t been beneficial to ratepayers or consumers.”
A litany of examples support Tanton’s observation, from the state’s abortive attempt to mandate zero-emissions vehicles in 1990 to the energy crisis of 2000, and the subsequent collapse of the state’s competitive retail electricity market. In short, California’s trailblazing energy policies seem to have yielded more disasters than they have triumphs, which argues against applying the California model nationwide.