By Tim Hunt
Need to regjulate more? Change the goalUploaded: Nov 8, 2016
The Bay Area air board is at it again.
The regulators released a plan last week to further reduce “toxic” air contaminants. It could affect up to 1,000 different businesses and government entities including sewer plants, crematoria, data centers and flight operations for airlines. Remember, it’s the state air board that has declared war on the state’s diary and cattle industries by mandating ranchers control the animal’ flatulence and belching—really.
The rationale is in keeping with the staff’s typical way to doing business—feeling the need to regulate more (job security) ---just change the goals.
Currently, the district requires industries to curb pollution in the areas they operate so there would be no increase in cancer risk greater than 100 new cases in a million people. That wasn’t good enough—the new regulations are designed to decrease the risk by a factor of 10 to 10 cases per million people.
For perspective on how absurd these numbers are: consider that we all have one chance in four of getting cancer in our lifetime.
That’s a pretty dramatic difference between the current regulations that mandate one-ten thousandth of a chance (0.0001). Compare that to 25 percent. The new rule would add another zero---0.00001 percent chance.
And, of course the air board staff will skip any examination of economic impact on the effected industries—the oil refineries are a key target, but it expands well beyond those five facilities.
But, that’s the air board at work and its structure (local and county elected officials are voting members) effectively isolates the members from any direct accountability to the voters. That same structure is why the powerful Metropolitan Transportation Commission is so unresponsive to public comment.
Have you noticed that in addition to the “October surprises,” there’s one other activity you can count on for politicians—ground breakings or dedications/grand openings.
The desire to show off accomplishments is a natural human desire and politicians, seeking votes, do whatever they can do to call attention to what happened on their watch.
In Pleasanton, that meant opening of the Bernal Park as well as the separate opening of the new dog park last month.
That’s not the case for the new Veteran’s Memorial that will be dedicated this Saturday—the day after Veteran’s Day. The Tri-Valley parade took place downtown on Sunday, but city and veterans representatives held off