Yesterday, Arizona lawmakers set up a likely showdown with Governor Janet Napolitano over global warming, though they conveniently don't see it that way. In passing legislation to overturn the state's enactment of California's clean cars standards-- the result of an executive order that Napolitano issued back in 2006, and a lengthy evaluation process by state officials-- legislators claim that they're only standing up to excessive executive power. They fault Napolitano for not consulting them both on this matter and before she signed the state up for the Western Climate Initiative's regional cap-and-trade effort last summer.
"Maybe we are a day late and a dollar short in doing it," [Sen. Jake Flake, the bill's author] conceded. "But it's important that we do do it and don't wait forever."
"This isn't about greenhouse effect, this isn't about the environment," [House Speaker Jim Weiers] said. It's about legislative authority to review these kinds of policies, not "an agency head or a governor behind closed doors." he said.
While legislators argue that a heavy lobbying push by the auto industry and other aligned groups was irrelevant to their acting now, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce finds itself simultaneously on the defensive, though its problem simply seems to be with the truth. The organization conveniently chose yesterday to release a poll literally designed to portray public concerns over the governor's actions, and was quickly called out on it by the state media:
[T]he questions in the survey, paid for by the business community, may have influenced the answers.For example, one question asks whether people would be willing to pay an extra $3,000 for cars and trucks to meet the new emission standards. More than 60 percent said "no."Figures from the California Air Resources Board, which first adopted the rules Arizona is mimicking, put the cost at less than $1,100, not $3,000.And Hamer acknowledged there is a financial benefit to buying the cars manufactured to the new standards because their higher fuel efficiency will reduce the need to buy gasoline — a point never mentioned to those questioned in the survey."I don't believe it really matters in terms of all the details," he said.