The "Green Governor"? Schwarzenegger Vetoes Top Air Quality, Fish Protection Legislation
Now, to be fair to Arnie, he has proven himself quite capable of living up to the lofty billing of "Green Governor" in the past -- if not always by deed, then certainly by sheer force of will. Yet it often seems as though every time I start to warm up to the Governator's green bona fides, he has to go and make a few bone-headed moves, dashing what little enthusiasm I had built up.
This time around, the Indybay's Dan Bacher reports that, under the cloak of approving legislation ushering in California's new "Green Chemistry Program," Schwarzenegger vetoed several top environmental bills, including SB 974, an air quality bill that would've raised $300 million every year to pay for air pollution mitigation and freight transportation improvements, and AB 1806, a bill that would've required the Department of Fish and Game to develop oversight protocols to determine fish rescue and relocation efforts in the Sacramento - San Joaquin River Delta.Image from steven.bussDid Palin have a role in Schwarzenegger's vetoes? According to Bacher, Schwarzenegger seems to have rejected the air quality bill under heavy pressure from Alaskan Governor, and McCain running mate, Sarah Palin (who, as we know, is no friend of the environment). Palin argued the bill would have drastically increased the costs of goods shipped to Alaska.
The second piece of legislation he vetoed, the Fish Rescue Plans Bill (or AB 1806), which was supported by a broad coalition of environmental and fishing organizations, would have helped prevent future fisheries closures by mandating that the Department of Fish and Game evaluate fish rescue and relocation plans. Schwarzenegger had claimed that the bill essentially duplicated existing legislation, and that it was therefore unnecessary.
Other bills the governor vetoed included AB 2447, which required all new developments to have fire protection measures in place, and SB 68, which aimed to streamline the process for communities, cities and citizens to file lawsuits under the state's Environmental Quality Act. The current legislation isn't clear on whom filers should include in their lawsuits; as a result, they often cast too wide a net to ensure their case doesn't get thrown out.
415 bills vetoed, 772 signed give Governor a 35% veto rateIn total, Schwarzenegger vetoed 415 bills and signed 772, giving him the highest veto rate in the past 40 years, at the very least, according to the Sacramento Bee. He's no Bush, but methinks the Governator still has a lot of room for improvement.
More about Schwarzenegger's environmental record::Schwarzenegger Invites Global Leaders to Talk Carbon Caps::Schwarzenegger Heads Climate Coalition of Cities and Corporations::Whitehouse Lobbied Against Schwarzenegger Environmental Inititative