Happy Giving Tuesday, you all. California Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) has long made it clear that he wants his Central Valley constituents to give their health and well-being in exchange for healthy profits for Perea’s oil industry sponsors.
Happily, Perea announced his resignation today, effective a full year before he terms out of his seat in the California Assembly, telling reporters that he’s taking a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become a professional lobbyist for an as-yet unnamed interest.
You may recall that Perea was big oil’s biggest cheerleader and led the faction of Democrats who, with the Republican Caucus, forced the state to significantly scale back California’s climate change law earlier this year. Chevron, the Western States Petroleum Association, and Aera Energy (an oil exploration conglomerate in Bakersfield) contributed thousands of dollars to Perea in 2014, and they got their money’s worth from this moderate Democrat.
Meanwhile, the district he represents has the worst air pollution in the nation. One in six children in Fresno County has asthma — that’s twice the national average and the highest rate in the state of California. Air pollution kills more people in the San Joaquin Valley than homicide.
Air pollution has a direct economic impact as well, costing the Valley an estimated $1.9 billion each year in health costs and lost income because Mom has to call into work after frantically rushing her child to the emergency room yet again for a breathing treatment. Crop yields are reduced as much as 30% for some sensitive crops in the Valley due to high ground level ozone during the summer months. These sensitive crops include grapes (table, wine and raisins), oranges, melons, cotton and beans, with economic damage estimated to be as high as $5.8 billion.
File this under Politics.