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In an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee Forum section on June 1, former State Senator Tom Hayden touts the “green energy” policies of California Governor Jerry Brown, even though anti-fracking activists have nicknamed the Governor “Big Oil Brown” for his subservience to the oil and gas industry.

“California is poised to spend $120 billion by 2020 towards constructing a sustainable green economy, says Hayden in his piece, “Brown’s steady march to an alternative energy future.” (

Hayden describes Brown “as a modern Archimedes, the ancient Greek philosopher who searched for a leverage point from which to transform the world.”

“California is that leverage point, a modern economy that Brown wants to 'decarbonize' Brown pledges the creation of 500,000 clean energy jobs over his two terms, on top of the current 1.2 million,” gushes Hayden.

Hayden also touts the allegedly “visionary” energy policies of Jerry Brown. “It’s a long way from the early days when Brown was ridiculed as a Zen outlier speaking riddles about renewables. None dare call him Moonbeam now,” says Hayden.  

The former Senator acknowledges the public outcry over fracking, as well as the necessity of  “making the connection between greenhouse gas reductions and environmental justice," but doesn’t call for a ban on fracking like the majority of environmental groups in the state have called for.

Hayden is right that none call Jerry Brown “Moonbeam” now. Brown has transformed himself into “Big Oil Brown,” one of the worst Governors for fish, water and the environment in California history. (

Brown signed Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill that clears the path for expanded fracking in California, in September 2013. The last minute amendments to the bill by the oil industry were so odious that they spurred the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund to withdraw their support at the last minute for the already weak legislation.

The bill made California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of fracking permits optional -and prevents imposing a moratorium on fracking for 15 months. Brown signed the bill after receiving at least $2.49 million over several years from oil and natural gas interests. (

Hayden makes the following incredible statement, “Lacking legislative support, Brown’s alternative is to build a regulatory apparatus so formidable that fracking won’t be occurring any time soon.”

In case Hayden missed it, fracking is occurring already. In fact, a Freedom of Information Act and Associated Press investigation revealed that Southern California marine waters have already been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years. (

And the current “regulatory apparatus” created under Senate Bill 4 is one that the oil industry lobby praises.

Just ask Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, who praised the governor’s signing of Senate Bill 4 for  creating the “environmental” platform to expand fracking in California. (

“With the signing of Senate Bill 4, California has the toughest regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other energy production technologies in the country,” said Reheis-Boyd. “While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation.”

But the Governor’s signing of the green light to fracking bill is just one of the many attacks on the environment that Brown has engaged in – and that Hayden is greenwashing by writing his puff piece about Brown.

Governor Brown is an avid supporter of the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+) that allows Northern Hemisphere polluters to buy forest carbon offset credits from the global South. Brown is trying to link an agreement among Chiapas, Mexico; Acre, Brazil; and California, to AB32, which commits to a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for 2020, and an 80% reduction for 2050)  

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, exposed the impact of Brown’s REDD policies on the environment and Indigenous Peoples when he spoke at a protest against Brown’s failed environmental policies in San Francisco on October 17, 2013 (

“Despite being awarded, as I speak, for his supposed environmentalism, Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples

This policy privatizes the air we breathe. Commodifies the clouds. Buy and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the Sacred.

This policy is called carbon trading and REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But REDD really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source. And REDD may result in the biggest land grab of the last 500 years.”  

Brown has also rushed the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, a $67 billion boondoggle that will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and numerous other fish species, as well as imperiing salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath River. The plan would take large tracts of fertile Delta farmland out of production in order to irrigate drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, all under the guise of “habitat restoration.  

Every scientific panel, ranging from the Independent Delta Science Board to the National Academy of Sciences, has criticized the flawed “science” behind the twin tunnel plan. (

The Brown administration also authorized the export of record water amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet, 217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre feet set in 2005 under Schwarzenegger. Most of this water went to corporate agribusiness, including mega-farmers irrigating unsustainable, selenium-laced land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The record water exports spurred massive fish kills at the state and federal Delta pumps. The Brown administration “salvaged” a record 9 million Sacramento splittail and 2 million salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin shad, white catfish and sturgeon in the Delta export pumping facilities in 2011. Since the actual number of fish killed in the pumps is at least 5 to 10 times those reported, the actual number of fish killed is probably 55 million to 110 million.    

More recently, Governor and the Obama administration oversaw the systematic emptying of Folsom and other northern California reservoirs last year during a record drought, imperiling salmon and steelhead and local water supplies. (

Brown has also forged ahead with one of the worst environmental programs of the Schwarzenegger regime, the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. In one of the most egregious conflicts of interests in modern California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Takes Force for the South Coast, as well as serving on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. (

It is no surprise that the alleged “marine protected areas” fast-tracked under the administration of the Governor who Hayden calls a “modern day Archimedes” fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, offshore oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.  

Other abysmal environmental policies of the “Green Energy Governor” include the following.    

• California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): Brown is trying to weaken or even eliminate CEQA, one of California's greatest environmental laws, to fast-track big developments for giant corporations like Walmart, Berkshire Hathaway, General Electric, Valero and Chevron.

• Department of Conservation Appointments: After Brown fired Acting Director Chernow and Oil and Gas Supervisor Miller and appointed oil industry-friendly Mark Nechodom, risky injection oil drilling permits increased by 18 percent.

• Clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada: Brown is doing nothing to stop Sierra Pacific Industries from clear cutting forests, destroying wildlife habitat, and contributing to climate change.

• “Theme Park” Wetlands: The Department of Fish and Wildlife under the Jerry Brown administration is working with the Annenberg Foundation to bulldoze a section of the Ballona Wetlands to build an interpretive center and help with the “restoration” of the land around the center.  

As I have documented in article after article, Brown is on a “steady” march, but it’s a march to the destruction of salmon and other fish, rivers, the Delta, ocean and the environment, not to “an alternative energy future” as Hayden proclaims.  

For more information about Brown’s abysmal environmental policies, go to:

Originally posted to Dan Bacher on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is what's wrong with the Left today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dan Bacher is a single issue activist.  Which is fine, as far as it goes, for one should have faith in one's beliefs.

    Dan Bacher disagrees with Gov Brown about something related to that single issue, thus Gov Brown must be destroyed.  If a liberal icon says something nice about Gov Brown, he must be destroyed as well - in the name of that single issue.

    And when every leftist has been destroyed, slaughtered for insufficient allegiance to some enthusiast's single issue, who then will be left to defeat the Right?

    Priorities, people, balance and a sense of proportion are your friends.

    •  Actually what's wrong with the left today (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, kosta

      Actually what's wrong with what you describe as the "Left" is that it's no longer a "Left" with the rise of corporate Democrats like Brown.

      Brown embraces and expands the worst energy policies and environmental policies of the Brown administration and I'm not supposed to criticize him and the people that greenwash him?

      If Brown has embraced the policies of a Republican Governor and made them worse, doesn't that make Brown objectively to the right of Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?

      "And when every leftist has been destroyed, slaughtered for insufficient allegiance to some enthusiast's single issue, who then will be left to defeat the Right?"

      What the heck? The corporate Democrats, with the exception of a few issues like gay rights and gun control, embrace the same Wall Street-sponsored foreign, domestic and environmental policies as what you call the "right." The corporate Democrats and their allies can't "defeat the right" because they have largely embraced the right's political agenda.

      So Tom Hayden is a "liberal icon." How can he possibly still be a "liberal icon" if he's supporting a Governor that is pushing the same energy and environmental policies as a neo-con Republican Governor like Arnold Schwarzenegger?

      I have extensively documented the horrible environmental record of Governor Brown - I challenge you to show me how his environmental policies are good for the people and environment of California.  

      And you apparently didn't read my article - my criticism of Brown is NOT based on a single issue, but on a long list of varied environmental issues, ranging from fracking, to REDD, to the peripheral tunnels, to questionable marine "protected areas" overseen by a big oil industry lobbyist, to water exports on the Delta, to clearcutting the Sierra Nevada.

      •  an excellent reply (0+ / 0-)

        suitable for framing..

        Having loons as an opposition party allows the so called left to run rampant with the moneyed people, california is a perfect example..the overton window framing idea works here very well with the lunatics running the used to be loyal opposition the remnant people in government have no check on their hubris, former republicans now running as democrats such as in the Humboldt County election is prescient,  the one party government is what we are going to be seeing in Washington as well, more and more and more.
         The party of Money.
              Pres. Obama is a terrific center right president with a vandalized House. We'll see how that turns out for the next 2 and 6 years. Gov Brown has no real check on his Great Ideas but money and his own party.

          The person above joined very recently...whatever that means. In dk-version 5 coming soon apparently we will no longer be able to see that, sigh.

        Thanks for this, excellent details.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 11:11:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  quite a list Dan (0+ / 0-)

    and not one you just made up.


    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 01:08:31 PM PDT

    •  The list tells it all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I could have gone on with another 10 actions the Governor has taken against fish, water and the environment. However, I think the ones I have listed will suffice to get the message across. The point I'm making is that the overall record of Brown on the environment is atrocious. He has taken environmental destruction to a new level. Rather than greenwashing Brown's environmental record, Hayden should so show some integrity and challenge Brown on his policies regarding the peripheral tunnels, Delta fish kills and water exports, clearcutting, fracking, REDD and others I've listed. And as you note, I didn't make this stuff up - I obtained most of the data I used to research this and previous articles from the state and federal agencies themselves.

      As the saying goes, Some people just can't handle the truth!

  •  Hayden's Rebuttal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tom Hayden has responded to Bacher's post on his site:

    Rebuttal: Governor Brown's Environmental Record

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