Chair Randolph's Opening Comments at the February 25, 2021 Board Meeting
This is my first meeting here at CARB. I am honored to be serving with this body of thoughtful and esteemed public servants. I am grateful to Governor Newsom for giving me this opportunity. He has boldly furthered California’s leadership on climate change and I am proud of his actions on the zero-emission vehicle executive order and his budget priorities that add funds to critical equity efforts such as AB 617 implementation and making clean transportation available to all Californians.
I am happy to welcome my fellow new Board members Davina Hurt, Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner and Gideon Krakov and I congratulate Dr. Balmes on his reappointment.
Since I have started this position I have had many people ask me what my vision is for CARB and what changes I want to make. CARB has been an incredibly effective environmental regulator for over 50 years. I stand in the shoes of giants of the pioneers of environmental regulation including our immediate past Chair Mary Nichols. So I first want to say that this commitment will not waiver and I will always look for the most effective ways to protect public health and mitigate climate change while sustaining and growing our California economy.
Those who know me know that I often couch the work we do in public policy as challenges and opportunities. California is really good at creating opportunities out of challenges. We took the challenge of World War II and the Cold War and built a huge aerospace and technology industry. We took the challenge of educating a fast growing state and built the best public university system in the world. We took the challenge of reducing emissions from vehicles and created what was California’s single largest export product last year – electric vehicles.
But too often the challenge and opportunity frame gets skewed. We place the challenges onto some communities and populations but give the opportunities to others. So my goal at CARB going forward is to always check ourselves and make sure that we are considering how our decisions as a Board look at ways to address both the current and historic challenges that have been applied inequitably and that the opportunities we create prioritize those who have been shouldering those historic challenges, particularly people of color. It’s important to recognize that we can’t instantly reverse decades of poor land use decisions and environmental racism in our role as a regulator implementing state law. And we must recognize that communities of color have a range of views and concerns. But we cannot fail in our efforts to listen, engage, and work towards equitable solutions as best we can.
California is such an amazing place and I’m so proud of the work we have done here. I am inspired by the effectiveness of our air quality regulatory structure and our rigorous approach to achieving reductions. We have far too many residents of California who are still living in non-attainment areas or are experiencing localized air quality impacts in their communities. I look forward to working with our air quality districts in their critical work around stationary sources and working with communities to ensure effective progress.
On the issue of climate change, it’s a new day. I’m inspired by the opportunities to partner with the new federal administration in Washington and with so many states who stood with us over the last four years and joined us in taking international leadership. I am eager for the opportunity to continue our international cooperation and work with countries like Mexico as we learn from each other and build on our shared goals. Here at home I look forward to the opportunity to use the scoping plan update to understand how best to be strategic and effective in our greenhouse gas emissions reduction implementation.
And I recognize the challenge of ensuring that all Californians have access to clean transportation and technology and that our transition away from fossil fuels takes into account a just transition to a new economy. I look forward to working with you all in seizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges.