Wednesday, April 01, 2009

More! More!! More!!!!

With Congress continuing to spend money like drunken sailors, Pleasanton-area Rep. Jerry McNerney sees an opportunity to advance his passionate alternative energy agenda.

McNerney waded into the legislative fray with three new bills, two of which call for utilities to prepare for technology that reguates electricity usage by appliances, and for public untility commissions to come up with plans for fee-based charging stations for PHEV's. Neither seems terribly unreasonable.

The Contra Costa Times reports that McNerney's other bill, which could be enormously expensive, "seeks $100 million for the creation of college and career school training programs in "green energy" jobs." Before you cringe, the cash would come out of federal coffers in the form of a DOE grant.

One school of thought understandably holds that, with the Obama budget tripling the national deficit in ten years, there comes a time when you have to simply wave the white flag and capitulate. If the money is going to roll off of federal printing presses, better for California to fight for a share of that cash than watch it disappear down a black hole in another state.

The competing school of thought-- what I'll call the "Sanford School" (after South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford who told Washington to keep its stimulus cash) points out that any new program like the one contemplated by McNerney's "Green Act" will be impossible to kill once it is enactd, making it yet another unfunded mandate. (In fairness, the Green Act contemplates a federal program and not a state program, so this is not a California issue, per se, but it does raise the question of where the money comes from after the DOE grant runs out?)

Draw your own conclusions, but the Contra Costa Times has the story: