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My opponent recently proposed legislation, which was signed into law, giving the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the political authority to essentially determine what types of cars people can drive. The bill, originally intended to reduce CO2 emissions, has significantly damaging effects on California families and our local economy.

We all share a love of our environment, but my opponent has once again created extreme policies to placate her environmental lobbyists with little or no regard for the inhabitants of the environment she claims to represent.

This issue should be viewed in terms of cost-benefit to all of the affected parties. Research shows that if we were to eliminate all the cars in the state of California tomorrow it would have a net impact of reducing CO2 emissions by less than .1 percent worldwide. On the other hand, this bill will most certainly cause the automotive industry to raise the costs of many of its vehicles, most likely causing a decline in sales, pricing consumers out of an affordable choice. As a consequence, this will damage the economy by decreasing industry revenue and costing valuable jobs in the automobile industry. Therefore, when looking at the nominal benefit this has on the environment, coupled with the major impact it will have on California families, it would be irresponsible to support such a bill.

There is a misconception that this new law only aims to affect SUV, minivan, and light truck drivers. On the contrary, by giving this overwhelming power to CARB, all car drivers will eventually be penalized with higher prices and taxes on their new vehicles. This condition will ironically force drivers to hold onto their older vehicles, which emit higher levels of carbon dioxide.

My opponent claims that the other benefit to her bill is that it will show that California is once again at the forefront of American trends and she hopes that other states and the federal government will follow the lead on her bill. I think that I join most of my fellow Californians when I say that this is one trend we do not want to see California set.

As a former employee of the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, I know that there are plenty of effective win-win solutions to help reduce CO2 emissions and improve our air quality. This bill is not one of them. We need leaders who can defend the principles of conservatism without abandoning responsible fiscal policy.

Let us bring some common sense environmental policy back to Sacramento this year. The types of solutions that do not pit businesses and people against the environmental lobby, but solutions that brings all parties together in commonality of purpose.

You can reach Michael Wissot by contacting SymAction Communications