Governor Thanks State Air Board for Taking an Illegal Action
Governor Schwarzenegger Applauds Adoption of 33 Percent Renewable Energy Standard
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today (September 23) applauded the California Air Resources Board for adopting the Renewable Energy Standard regulation requiring that one-third of electricity sold in California comes from clean, renewable sources by 2020:
“I applaud the Air Resources Board for adopting regulations to increase California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 33 percent. This action further establishes the Golden State’s legacy as a worldwide environmental and economic leader.
“We are already seeing increased investment in renewable energy projects in California. There are currently over 200 renewable energy projects looking to build and do business here. In the last month alone, the California Energy Commission has approved four large-scale renewable energy facilities that will provide enough clean energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes while creating thousands of jobs. There is a multi-trillion dollar global market for clean energy, and I look forward to seeing even more investment and job creation happen throughout our state with today’s commitment.
“While my Administration will not slow down as we move forward with a more diverse energy portfolio to drive economic growth and provide greater security and stability for ratepayers, I remain open to continuing to work with the legislature on putting this standard in statute. (Emphasis added.) With this long-term energy policy, California will continue to lead the transition to a clean-energy future and away from being so dependent on the volatile prices and harmful emissions of dirty oil and coal.”
(Editor’s Note: According to the sentence in bold italics, the governor is applauding the air board for taking an illegal action. There is no law mandating that 33 percent of the state’s energy portfolio come from renewable sources. If there is no statutory authority, there cannot be regulations setting such a standard. That’s illegal. The Legislative Analyst has noted this fact for more than one year, most recently in March of this year. Apparently, the governor is of the opinion that executive orders he issued in November 2008 and September 2009 ordering the air board to impose the 33 percent mandate have the same weight as legislation passed and signed into law. They don’t, according to a fairly large body of law including a legal opinion by the Legislative Counsel. “The Governor may not issue an executive order that has the effect of enacting, enlarging, or limiting legislation,” the analyst writes in its March assessment of the governor’s budget plan. Last fall, Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation that would have required publicly and privately owned utilities to boost electricity from renewable sources to 33 percent by 2020. The GOP governor said he supported the 33 percent level but that the legislative proposal “would make it more difficult and costly to achieve this very important goal.” The regulation adopted by the air board seeks to impose the 33 percent mandate on publicly and privately owned utilities. Perhaps an aggrieved party will challenge the mandate’s legality.)
September 24 is the 86th day of the fiscal year that began July 1. So far neither the Legislature nor the governor have enacted a budget. The governor as well as GOP and Democratic leaders of the Legislature claim to have a “framework” for a solution – leading perhaps to a budget vote before the first quarter of the fiscal year passes.
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