Jan 2 - Governor Schwarzenegger Proposes 'Realignment' of Recycling & Pollution Prevention Programs

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this week unveiled his 2009-10 budget proposal for the state. Among a set of updated recommendations taken from the 2004 California Performance Review was the following language:

"...the Administration will submit the following legislative proposals to further improve governmental efficiency:...consolidation or realignment of recycling and cleanup, spill prevention and pollution programs, including elimination of the Integrated Waste Management Board..."

The 6 member California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) oversees much of California's nation-leading waste reduction and recycling policy, including the 50% waste reduction mandate on local agencies; e-waste recycling incentive program; as well as oversight of the state's solid waste disposal system.

Other elements of recycling and pollution prevention are administered separately by the Department of Conservation and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

Last month Governor Schwarzenegger appointed former State Senator Carol Migden to the CIWMB.

Criticism of the CIWMB appointees has been a part of the political theatre of Sacramento for nearly two decades. In 1989, then Governor George Deukmejian signed AB 939 (Sher) into law which established the state's 50% recycling mandate and reformed the previously part-time, waste industry dominated board into it's current configuration. Last minute amendments by Deukmejian assured that the Governor could appoint his outgoing Chief of Staff (Mike Frost) and Director of the Department of Finance (Jesse Huff) to the board without having to face Senate Confirmation.

At a time when the role and opportunity for comprehensive waste prevention and recycling has never been more critical, the continuing saga of board appointees and governance only serves to distract from the real issues facing the state. While some efficiencies and increased productivity might be realized through a consolidation of the functions of the CIWMB and Departments of Conservation and DTSC, none will result in any General Fund savings to the state as all three entities have long relied on funds assessed on problem products, polluters and waste generators.

CAW believes that the public and environmental interests of the state would be best served if the Governor and legislature focused their attention on the following:

10 Point Plan for Protecting Our Environment and Creating Green Jobs