Just a day before being picked as the GOP vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wrote a letter to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urging him to shoot down a groundbreaking pollution-reduction effort aimed at cargo containers: she asked the Governator not to sign a bill that would impose heavy fees on ships entering the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland.
Palin’s concerns were aimed at the Alaskan economy, and well…not the environment. Duh! Claiming that shippers are already burdened by high fuel prices, she said this “may harm California by driving port business away from its ports.” As those three ports together account for over 40-percent of U.S. goods, that kinda seems unlikely. The bill’s author isn’t impressed by Palin’s suggestion either.
“We are losing about 3,400 Californians each year because of pollution. … I don’t think Gov. Palin truly understands the impacts going on here,” says state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D), who sponsored the bill. “She certainly displays a lack of understanding,” Lowenthal went on to say.
Many California environmentalists consider this to be the most important pollution reduction effort made in the state this year.
“Why should Gov. Schwarzenegger take into account what out-of-state interests are saying?” said Lisa Warshaw, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for Clean Air. “It’s unfortunate that she is using her popularity to push her agenda on this state.”
The bill would impose a $60 fee for every 40-foot cargo container entering those ports. It would bring in about $400 million per year, which would go towards the installation of cleaner truck and train engines and projects aimed to reduce congestion and idling. That sounds pretty good to me!
Schwarzenegger has had concerns about the port fee and even threatened to veto it last year. He urged Lowenthal to meet with retail and shipping representatives to address their complaints that it will harm business. But Schwarzenegger has not yet responded to Palin’s letter, nor has he made a decision about whether to sign or veto the legislation, said spokeswoman Rachel Cameron.