By Violette Roberts, Community Relations & Education Manager
During its February 2012 meeting, the Governing Board of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District reaffirmed a resolution requesting a suspension or revision of AB 32 – the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 – which it originally adopted and forwarded to then-Governor Schwarzenegger in 2010.
AB32 requires the California Air Resources Board to develop strict new regulations and market mechanisms to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, representing a 30% reduction statewide, with mandatory caps beginning in 2012 for significant emissions sources.
The resolution – which was brought to the local regulatory air agency’s Board by MDAQMD Board Member and City of Victorville Councilman Mike Rothschild – was accompanied by a letter from District Governing Board Chair and San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, which outlined the MDAQMD Board’s ongoing concerns with AB32’s continued implementation.
“To date, there continues to be a failure to consider potential regulatory conflicts between AB 32 provisions and federal and state mandates in the AB 32 implementation process,” said Mitzelfelt. “In addition, an analysis of the potential impacts of multiple requirements on the local economy and ultimately, on the environment, have been minimal, at best.” Rothschild added that while the MDAQMD Governing Board composition has changed since 2010, “the key factors which render AB 32 a threat to the High Desert’s economy have remained virtually unchanged.” These factors include an unemployment rate of just under 15%, a severe jobs/housing imbalance, substantial air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from over 50% of all area residents commuting at least 40 miles to work each way, and transported pollutants from the Los Angeles basin. Moreover, according to Rothschild, AB 32 threatens to engender indirect environmental consequences – such as longer, more polluting commutes – as a result of businesses and jobs leaving the area.
In addition to sending the adopted resolution and letter to Governor Brown, the documents were also forwarded to CARB, state legislators, and to directors of California’s 34 other air districts.