by WorldTribune Staff, February 14, 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Feb. 12 announced that California is ditching its plan to build a high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In March of last year, the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced that the L.A.-San Francisco line would cost $13 billion more and take four years longer to build than originally estimated.
Newsom, a Democrat, indicated that settling on a line connecting Merced and Bakersfield would be better than returning $3.5 billion in federal funding the state received for high-speed rail.
“Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises, partially filled commitments and lawsuits to show for it,” Newsom said. “And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”
Trump called on Newsom to return the $3.5 billion to the federal government.
The president tweeted on Feb. 13: “California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!”
Newsom responded that California was going to keep the money, tweeting: “Fake news. We’re building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond. This is CA’s money, allocated by Congress for this project. We’re not giving it back. The train is leaving the station — better get on board! (Also, desperately searching for some wall $$??)”
Newsom said the state will build a 119-mile Central Valley segment of the line linking Merced and Bakersfield.
“I know that some critics are going to say, ‘Well, that’s a train to nowhere.’ But I think that’s wrong and I think that’s offensive,” Newsom said.
“Let’s level about the high-speed rail,” Newsom said. “Let’s be real. The current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”
California has already spent over $5 billion on the high-speed rail project.
The $3.5 billion the state received from the feds was granted as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus, which set aside “$8 billion in federal stimulus money to create 13 high-speed rail corridors.”
“Obama pressured states to take the cash — which Democrat-governed states eagerly did. But the Republican wave of 2010 brought new governors to office, and several rejected their state’s high-speed rail plans as costly and unnecessary,” Breitbart’s senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak noted.
Columnist Philip Klein, writing for The Washington Examiner, noted the irony of California all but derailing the bullet train since the Green New Deal calls for high-speed rail to replace air travel.
“If high-speed rail can’t make it in California, there is no way that liberals are going to be able to build a vast national high-speed rail network in many states that are less receptive to the idea,” Klein wrote. “And again, this is just one small part of the Green New Deal. It doesn’t get into additional goals including generating 100 percent of power in the U.S. from renewables within a decade (from its current 17 percent) and upgrading every single building in the U.S. so that they’re all energy efficient. On top of free college, free healthcare, affordable housing, and a job guarantee.”
Since the Democrats’ Green New Deal calls for phasing out air travel, Rep. Liz Cheney asked a panel of so-called environmental experts how to prioritize who in the future gets to fly and for what reasons.
During a House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on Feb. 12 titled “Climate Change: Preparing for Energy Transition”, the Wyoming Republican also asked the six witnesses how each of them made their way to the nation’s capital.
Four of the six stated they had traveled by airplane, the very means of transportation the Green New Deal seeks to eliminate.
The Green New Deal calls to “totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary,” according to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s website.
On the question of who gets to fly, Chandra Farley, director of Just Energy, answered: “It would depend on the FAA and the other federal agencies that focus on air travel to tackle that question.”
Cheney replied: “I would assume we’re going to set up a situation where the FAA can tell individual citizens which of their air travel is worthy and important and what isn’t. It would seem to me we would then have a situation where the FAA could say for example, you know what, vacation travel, that’s not essential. We have to make sure that we can do the air travel for the people that really need it, so no vacation travel.”
When none of the witnesses chose to chime in on whether the Green New Deal would require the government to set up a “vacation commissar,” Cheney asked who among the six on the panel backs Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal.
After a moment of silence, one of the panelists said she supports many of the recommendations outlined in the proposal.
Cheney said: “I would just say that it’s going to be crucially important for us to recognize and understand when we outlaw plane travel, we outlaw gasoline, we outlaw cars, I think actually probably the entire U.S. military, because of the Green New Deal, that we are able to explain to our constituents and to people all across this country what that really means. Even when it comes down to something like air travel … that means the government is going to be telling people where they can fly to and where they can’t.”
“I would assume that means our colleagues from California are going to be riding their bicycles back home to their constituents,” Cheney added.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Feb. 12 said that he will move for a vote on the Green New Deal, which many observers see as designed to force Senate Democrats – including several 2020 presidential candidates – to go on the record on a proposal that has been widely ridiculed.
The vote will “give everybody an opportunity to go on record,” McConnell said.
Sen. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, who introduced the Green New Deal with Ocasio-Cortez last week, slammed McConnell for “rushing” to get a vote on the proposal.
Markey tweeted: “This isn’t a new Republican trick. By rushing a vote on the #GreenNewDeal resolution, Republicans want to avoid a true national debate & kill our efforts to organize. We’re having the first national conversation on climate change in a decade. We can’t let Republicans sabotage it.”
Markey added: “Don’t let Mitch McConnell fool you: this is nothing but an attempt to sabotage the movement we are building. He wants to silence your voice so Republicans don’t have to explain why they are climate change deniers. McConnell wants this to be the end, this is just the beginning.”
Many on social media wondered why Markey would oppose a vote on his own resolution and how voting on a plan he proposed could be considered “sabotage.”
Others wondered how it was possible to “rush” a vote on the Green New Deal since Ocasio-Cortez herself warned that unchecked climate change will lead to the end of the world in 12 years.
Trump blasted the Green New Deal at a rally on Feb. 11 in El Paso, Texas, saying it would “shut down American energy.” It sounds like “a high-school term paper that got a low mark,” the president said.
In one other bit of environmental news, a study that claims climate change is wiping out the world’s insect population has been debunked.
The study by Brad Lister and Andres Garcia published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) told a very concerning story about a precipitous decline in the number of insects in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest, and that climate change was to blame.
The leftist media immediately latched on, with such headlines as:
“‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss”, – The Washington Post.
“Insects, biodiversity, and mass extinction: an alarming new study”, – Vox.
“Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’ ”, – The Guardian.
Not mentioned, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has sent a formal complaint to its publishers calling for the study’s withdrawal.
Why? The study blamed the drop in the insect population on dramatic rising temperatures that were recorded by a weather station. But the temperature increase was the result of a thermometer in the weather station being moved, not global warming.