Earlier this week, Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) wrote the following email reply to an agricultural association that was not happy with Andy’s op-ed on the proposed extension of Cap and Trade that was published in the Flash Report on Monday:
"Hi ______ – I appreciate you taking time to convey your views and thoughts concerning the Governor’s proposed extension of his Cap and Trade program. As you referenced, I recently wrote an op-ed regarding my concerns about this program in which I requested to hear from my constituents on this issue, and I have indeed heard from many, many folks.
"I am honored and proud to represent over a million people in the Valley who work in agriculture, resources, retail, restaurants, transportation, education, health care, law enforcement and many other professions as well as those who are unemployed, disabled, on a fixed income or retired. Senate District 14 is one of the poorest legislative districts in the nation, and the poorest in the state. We have high unemployment and high poverty rates, particularly what’s referred to as an energy poverty which is where struggling families pay close to 30% of their income on gasoline and electricity. I have grave concerns about doing anything to jack up energy costs even higher.
"Soon after being elected to the Senate in July of 2013, I cast a vote in favor of Assembly Bill 8 (Carl Moyer funding), which helped numerous farmers in the Valley as you’d say, “replace trucks, tractors and harvesting equipment,” and afford to comply with numerous onerous environmental requirements. These industries included many of the same folks you referenced in your email – growers and other associated with agriculture in the Valley and statewide. It was in my opinion the right thing to do.
"AB 8 went through 10 months of public hearings, debate and discussion. AB 8 was not secretly drafted by lobbyists and government bureaucrats in an attempt to rush it through the process in a minimum amount of time, limiting public exposure and media coverage as the Governor’s proposed extension of Cap and Trade has been.
"AB 8 also did not waste hundreds of millions of dollars on the failure known as High Speed Rail, a boondoggle overwhelmingly opposed by residents and businesses in the Central Valley. Ironically, High Speed Rail is a net polluter that is pushing people out of their farms, homes, churches and businesses.
"The Governor’s proposed Cap and Trade program will provide High Speed Rail with billions of dollars, all in the false claim of reducing greenhouse gases.
"Admittedly, AB 8 did raise our once per year vehicle registration fees by a couple of bucks, but it did not jack up gasoline prices by 90 cents per gallon, as the extension of Cap and Trade is estimated to do.
"Rather than extending the flawed Cap and Trade program, what really needs to be done is to repeal both AB 32 (2006) and SB 32 (2016), in essence admit that Cap and Trade is a failure. Unfortunately, some of the leadership and advocates of industries affected by Cap and Trade don’t want to even try going this route and are willing to just seek narrow exemptions that again, do little to deal with the impact on the over one million people I represent.
"I sincerely sympathize with the dilemma you said you and other food processors face in having to comply with California’s overly-burdensome environmental regulations, which your out-of-state and foreign competitors don’t have to comply with. We simply disagree on the solution – I think the whole environmental regulation system needs repeal and reform, rather than just narrow and temporary tweaking until the next AB 32 or SB 32 comes along . . . and unfortunately it will again and again despite whatever assurances the enviros have given you.
"Finally, I also disagree with your statement that I "attacked" your members in my op-ed. Quite the contrary, I hope I have provided some insight as to the goings on here at the Capitol in which deals are being made in their name.
"________, as always I would be happy to discuss this with you down the road whenever our paths cross. Thanks, Andy"