Thursday, February 18, 2010
Arnold and His Boys Deliver Low Blow to Ag

By Andy Caldwell

If only Arnold Schwarzenegger had been a football player instead of a body builder, perhaps he would recognize a regulatory chop block for what it is, blow his whistle, and stop the game before somebody gets irreparably hurt.

For those of you who don’t know what a chop block is, it is basically a low blow delivered to an opponent while, at the same time, your teammate is hitting the opponent on the high side. The high/low combination hit is a recipe for broken legs and irreparable, career-ending knee injuries.

I have previously mentioned that the governor’s appointees on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have been threatening the economic viability of trucking, construction and farming in our state as a result of diesel-engine rules currently being phased in.

Additionally, CARB is in the process of implementing Arnold’s proudest piece of legislation, AB 32, which will serve to decimate our manufacturing and industrial sectors, ostensibly to save the planet from global warming. These programs will cost the reeling California economy in excess of $200 billion.

While all these main drivers of our economy struggle with CARB, a low blow has been delivered by another group of Arnold’s appointees, who serve on the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Not to be outdone, the water board has embarked on a series of rules that are not just expensive, but impossible to comply with.

In a nutshell, the water board wants new buildings to be built in such a way so that in effect, no rain water leaves the site in a storm. This goal, albeit extremely expensive, is, in some cases, achievable compared to what this same regulatory agency is asking of farmers.

Farmers are being asked to not only control the water quality flowing off their farms from irrigation and rainstorms, they are also being asked to control the temperature of the water and the amount of dirt in the water.

The regulators are in essence demanding that this wastewater be cleansed to drinking water standards and be beneficial to wildlife — the same wildlife that poses a food safety threat to the crops being cultivated.

Further, they are being asked to control the quality of the water that soaks into their fields to recharge the groundwater basin below their property. You would think such a standard is impossible, and you would be right. The bottom line is Mother Nature, in the absence of mankind, does not meet these standards.

The state’s economy is winning the race to the bottom, thanks to mindless politicians and bureaucrats who continue to pass rules that are more stringent than anywhere else in the world. Our economy can’t take it anymore.

The rules are now exceeding the bounds of science, engineering and common sense, and leveling a path of economic mayhem and destruction. If Arnold doesn’t do something soon, there will not be anybody left to put in the game.

The California economy needs immediate relief from these rules affecting land, air and water. It is impossible to keep jobs in the manufacturing, construction, farming and transportation sectors of our economy without having at least a negligible impact upon our environment.

It is the cost of living in a society with an abundance of food, shelter, goods and services. There is no quality of life without these things. There is no quality of life without jobs.

The regulations in the pipeline are ridiculously arbitrary and capricious in their nature. They are prohibitively expensive and, in most cases, impossible to achieve.

No doubt, the board members and/or the staff of these agencies need to be replaced. We need reasonable people to help us in these desperate times.

 Andy Caldwell is executive director of COLAB and a 41-year resident of the Central Coast. For contact information, visit the COLAB website at www.colabsbc.org.

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