Trump’s at­tack on Calif. con­trary to con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ples

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE | A PLACE TO BE HEARD - By Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, a Repub­li­can, is a for­mer gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia.

Cal­i­for­nia has been a leader in the fight to clean our air since one of my he­roes, Ron­ald Rea­gan, was our gov­er­nor. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, for some rea­son, is hell­bent on re­vers­ing decades of his­tory and progress. Whether it is po­lit­i­cal pet­ti­ness, short­sight­ed­ness or just plain jeal­ousy, I couldn’t tell you.

I can tell you that it’s wrong. It’s un-Amer­i­can. And it’s an af­front to long-stand­ing con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ples.

To un­der­stand why I’m so an­gry about the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s move to re­voke Cal­i­for­nia’s waiver to reg­u­late au­to­mo­bile emis­sions, you must un­der­stand the his­tory. In 1967, Rea­gan es­tab­lished the Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board to fight crip­pling pol­lu­tion. He ap­pointed as its first di­rec­tor not a po­lit­i­cal hack or lob­by­ist, but a sci­en­tist, Arie Jan Haa­gen-Smit, who was a pi­o­neer­ing re­searcher of the causes and im­pacts of smog. The 1970 Clean Air Act, signed by another Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon, gave Cal­i­for­nia the au­thor­ity to reg­u­late air pol­lu­tion — and ever since, we have had what is called a waiver from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to set car pol­lu­tion lim­its.

His­tor­i­cally, it worked well. We set our stan­dards, and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment didn’t just re­spect our au­thor­ity, it gen­er­ally made our rules the stan­dard for the en­tire na­tion. Dur­ing my time as gov­er­nor, we had some hic­cups with Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials. They told us green­house gases were not a pol­lu­tant, and we won in the Supreme Court (duh). Then they didn’t ap­prove our clean air waiver, but that ended when Pres­i­dent Barack Obama took of­fice and made a com­pro­mise ver­sion of our state stan­dard the na­tional stan­dard.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s threat to re­voke our waiver to clean our air is more ex­treme. And com­ing from a Repub­li­can White House, it’s down­right hyp­o­crit­i­cal.

How many times have you heard con­ser­va­tives beat the drum of states’ rights? But sud­denly, when a state wants to pol­lute less and pro­tect its ci­ti­zens from deadly pol­lu­tion, con­ser­va­tives throw states’ rights straight out the win­dow. Nixon and Rea­gan un­der­stood the im­por­tance of Cal­i­for­nia’s right to clean air, but some so-called Repub­li­cans to­day seem to only be­lieve in states’ rights when it’s con­ve­nient, when the state voted for their party, or when the state is do­ing some­thing re­ally dumb.

How many times have you heard Repub­li­cans talk about be­ing probusi­ness? But now, when au­tomak­ers plead with the ad­min­is­tra­tion that they don’t want the Stone Age stan­dards the White House is fight­ing for, some Repub­li­cans aren’t act­ing very probusi­ness. This ad­min­is­tra­tion is even tak­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of in­ves­ti­gat­ing four com­pa­nies — Ford, Honda, BMW and Volk­swa­gen — that made an agree­ment with Cal­i­for­nia to re­duce their emis­sions. That agree­ment is another com­pro­mise, be­cause Cal­i­for­nia isn’t anti-busi­ness. And I guar­an­tee you that more big car­mak­ers will be join­ing those for­ward-think­ing com­pa­nies.

How many times have you heard Repub­li­cans talk about se­cu­rity and pub­lic safety? When Amer­i­cans are at­tacked or bridges col­lapse, we de­mand ac­tion. We know pol­lu­tion sick­ens and kills hun­dreds of thou­sands; the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s own En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency says low­er­ing the au­to­mo­bile stan­dard will lit­er­ally kill more peo­ple. But sud­denly pub­lic safety doesn’t mat­ter much any­more.

So why is re­vok­ing Cal­i­for­nia’s waiver even be­ing dis­cussed?

I’m sure the EPA and the White House will con­tinue to say this dumb pol­icy de­ci­sion is all about stop­ping reg­u­la­tions that “crip­ple the econ­omy.”

They should come out to Cal­i­for­nia. Last year, the U.S. econ­omy grew by 2.9 per­cent. Cal­i­for­nia’s econ­omy, with our sup­pos­edly crip­pling reg­u­la­tions, grew by 3.5 per­cent. We’ve out­paced the na­tion’s eco­nomic growth even as we’ve pro­tected our peo­ple.

Our suc­cess is built on our con­sis­tency. Ever since Rea­gan, each gov­er­nor has con­tin­ued the le­gacy of mov­ing to­ward a clean en­ergy fu­ture. We don’t play the games Wash­ing­ton does, with each ad­min­is­tra­tion chang­ing the tra­jec­tory of the United States and forc­ing busi­nesses to guess about where we are headed.

That’s a big rea­son nearly half of the ven­ture cap­i­tal in the United States comes to Cal­i­for­nia. Busi­nesses aren’t just think­ing about their talk­ing points for their next cam­paign. They’re plan­ning for five years, 10 years, 20 years. Busi­nesses must have long-term vi­sion to suc­ceed.

Knee-jerk re­ac­tionary poli­cies such as the move to re­voke our clean air waiver cre­ate un­cer­tainty. Th­ese com­pa­nies have been plan­ning and work­ing to­ward cleaner cars for a decade. They didn’t ask for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s back­ward think­ing, and they know it won’t help them. This “so­lu­tion” in search of a prob­lem re­minds me of the nine words that most ter­ri­fied Rea­gan: “I’m from the gov­ern­ment and I’m here to help.”

Busi­ness lead­ers — and Cal­i­for­ni­ans — know that you can’t just erase decades of his­tory and progress by draw­ing a line through it with a Sharpie. It’s time the ad­min­is­tra­tion learns that les­son.

Cal­i­for­nia will fight this de­ci­sion. And I prom­ise you, we will win.


Two down­towns — Glen­dale, Calif., in the fore­ground and Los An­ge­les in the back­ground — are seen just af­ter sun­rise Dec. 23, 1997, as a low, brown haze cov­ers the area. De­spite hav­ing it’s clean­est air in 50 years, Los An­ge­les still has the na­tion’s dirt­i­est air.

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