Author: Damien M. Schiff
In the summer of 2009, PLF sued a number of California legislative and executive officials on behalf of several trucking groups in state superior court over the manner of appointment of members of the Scientific Review Board on Toxic Air Contaminants. That lawsuit resulted in a significant shake up in the panel's members. Indeed, as a result of PLF's suit, more than half of the panel, which is supposed to provide technical expertise and advice to, among other agencies, the California Air Resources Board, was replaced by new members. One of the members replaced was John Froines, a scientist at UCLA (and FWIW a member of the Chicago Seven) who has taken over the years a very hard line against diesel particulate exhaust. Thus, the trucking industry is no friend of his, and he is no friend of the industry.
Suffice it to say that and I others were surprised when Dr. Froines appeared at a panel meeting late last year and announced that he had been reappointed. Well, as it turns out, the appointing authority, Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, had asked the new appointee, Dr. Michael Kleinmann (another UCLA scientist and friend of Froines), to resign. At that point, Speaker Perez obtained new nominations from the UC President, and among those nominated was Dr. Froines. And of course Speaker Perez then appointed Dr. Froines to a new three-year term.
The Bakersfield Californian had this editorial yesterday on the saga, and quotes me as saying, correctly I believe, that what the Speaker and Dr. Froines have done is within the letter of the law. But what has happened certainly does not give me confidence, or anyone in the trucking industry in this state, that the panel is in fact apolitical and simply provides unbiased, high-quality information to state regulators. Let's hope I'm proved wrong.