Big Oil’s Hysterical Attempt to Smear Air Resources Board

Hysterical over attempts this summer by lawmakers to combat climate change, Big Oil ominously described the state’s Air Resources Board as akin to the Galactic Imperial Senate in Star Wars, a villainous agency that would take over the world.

If the public watched a meeting, they would know how ridiculous these claims are. ARB is the state’s lead regulator when it comes to emissions. The board was created to ensure that California meets its goals for a cleaner, healthier state.

As a newcomer to watching CARB meetings, and having only heard the oil industry rhetoric about the board, I was expecting a group of wild environmentalists, sharpening their spears to personally skewer SUV drivers. What I saw last week instead was a group of policy wonks using data to make responsible plans for the future of California.

I learned there are many acronyms for types of cars: ICE (Internal combustion engine), HEV (Hybrid electric vehicle), BEV (Battery electric vehicle), FCEV (Fuel cell electric vehicle), and ZEV (Zero emission vehicle). While knowing these acronyms may never serve me in any way, it was encouraging to know that somewhere, in some room, there’s a group of people sitting around a table, looking at the facts, and trying to make sure that in 10 years I can get to work faster, cheaper, and cleaner than I can today.

Board members discussed investment plans for increasing energy and fuel efficiency and considered strategies from different counties hoping to implement a greenhouse emission target for 2020 and 2035. The meat of the meeting discussed electric vehicles, and creating adequate infrastructure to serve them.

In the battle of SB 350, the oil industry posed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a villainous entity that would reign over the people and restrict their rights. Throughout 2015, opinion pieces popped up across state papers with headlines like, “Don’t give CARB more power to punish drivers.” Why did this narrative gain such traction? Because no one reads an opinion piece about how thoughtful and forward-planning a state board is. Every Californian should take a few minutes to watch an ARB meeting, if nothing then to simply be pleasantly bored by their dillegince and attention to detail.

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