If it weren’t for the fact our Creator decides when it does and does not rain, I would almost be forced to conclude California’s current drought is just another plot by the Democratic Party ruling class to squeeze more money from taxpayers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in Clovis, Calif., “officials handed out more than $500,000 in fines this summer for violations including lawn watering.”
And Clovis isn’t the only city wringing more money from taxpayers: “Statewide, dozens of cities and districts have issued thousands of penalties since the state’s mandatory restrictions went into effect June 1.
"San Clemente, for example, went from no fines and other penalties in June to 3,000 in August, while Castaic Lake went from nine to 169 over that period, according to board numbers.”
The fines are part of a water conservation effort that could be termed trickle–down enforcement. After water conservation laws affecting the entire state went into effect in June, cities and water districts were ordered to reduce their water consumption by 36 percent from the level in 2013.
Fine–happy Clovis is getting a great deal of pushback from residents because, “Clovis has already taken conservation steps such as spending $10 million on a water-banking facility.”
I suppose that beats a waterboarding facility, but I’m still not sure what it does.
What is surprising to conservatives is California has taken an approach to water conservation that industry wishes the EPA would take in regard to pollution.
In California the state has set the conservation target and left it to the cities and water districts to achieve the goal.
This approach lets the various jurisdictions tailor their response to local conditions. In some areas like Indian Wells this is very difficult. Instead of a 36 percent reduction, it’s only been able to cut back 19.9 percent.
The reason, according to the Journal, “is that many of its 31,000 users in the Mojave Desert depend on water-consuming evaporative coolers, which humidify as they cool.”
But rather than order Indian Wells to force residents to buy standard air conditioners, the state encourages local solutions.
Of course this being government, Indian Wells is encouraged to move fast or suffer $10,000 per day fines.
Compare that with EPA micromanagement. EPA sets the goal and then orders industry to use a specific type of technology to achieve the goal, regardless of whether there are cheaper or more effective ways to accomplish the same end.
An industry can be penalized by the EPA for using unapproved technology, even if the pollution goal is achieved.
The only way the state could improve this regulatory regime is if the fines went into a fund to build a new dam. But it will rain in California before environmentalists approve of something sensible like that.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.