Thursday, August 15, 2013

Is it hilarious or just stupid that CARB regulates hair gel?

Businesses in California must have deep pockets. How else could they survive, with the California Air Resources Board shaking them down with the threat of fines or penalties just to operate?

Before I expand on this, I must clarify that I am a huge fan of the Earth. I love clean air and clean water. I love animals and natural habitats, and I think we should all do our part to keep this planet, the air and the oceans clean and sustainable.

But CARB has so much power that it does what it wants, and I think it’s gotten out of hand.

In recent weeks, CARB has laid big fines on a scent shop ($138,000), a motorcycle parts dealer ($500,000), and makers of anti-idling equipment ($213,000) in addition to truckers and ship lines the agency considers “polluters.”

CARB even fined a company $213,000 for having too many volatile compounds in a hair product known as “Gorilla Snot.” Yep, that happened, and it’s the price of doing business in California these days.

On the other side of the coin is the Golden State’s pay-to-play system of environmental credits. Basically, this system allows so-called “polluters” to buy credits ahead of time so that CARB will look the other way. As long as you pay the piper, you can get away with things that others cannot.

CARB exists today because it existed prior to the federal Clean Air Act, which prohibits states from setting their own environmental standards. The law allows other states to follow what CARB does, but prohibits states from designing their own version of an air resources board.

The agency has made a lot of things more expensive through the years, including trucks and many of the products they deliver.

A trucker attempting to meet California standards is looking at some serious bucks in new vehicle or retrofit costs.

We hear regularly from folks who bag on California because of the hassle and expense of meeting CARB standards.

But, as with almost anything, there’s always someone else waiting in line for the job that many experienced professionals will not or cannot afford to do. The new ones don’t have to be smarter or better; they just have to comply.