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Senator Jim Battin Responds to LAist Commenters

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We love when politicians and government officials chime in on LAist's comment section. The latest political celebrity, Senator Jim Battin (R- La Quinta), caught wind of an article this morning about SB 1374, a bill he submitted last week that would allow car pool lane access for any car owner who off-sets their emissions with carbon credits, ultimately letting solo drivers of all sorts, including SUVs and Hummers, onto California freeways.

Commenters brought out ammunition putting down the bill with sourced material. LAist commenter jrb introduced us to the humorous and insightful CheatNeutral.com and tormoz brought out some great links including this quote:

George Monbiot, an English environmentalist and writer, has compared carbon offsets to the practice of purchasing indulgences during the Middle Ages, whereby people believed they could purchase forgiveness for their sins (instead of actually repenting and not sinning anymore).
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Then Senator Battin chimed in (we called Battin's office to confirm it really was him):

Pretty good summary of my press release and bill (and yes, it's a real bill) - and you even got the intent. Though some of you "commentors" seemed to have missed it.
All I want is consistency and fairness. Here's my thinking....if Al Gore can live in his Tennessee mansion (with it's HUGE carbon footprint) and fly around the world in private jets -- and -- Governor Schwarzenneger can live in his mansions (TWO in LA) and fly around in his private jets -- without even a peep of criticism by the media because they buy carbon offsets -- then -- I (and everyone) should be able to drive in the HOV lane if WE buy carbon credits too. If Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger are "carbon neutral" and live the extravagant lifestyles they do -- without one peep from the media or the left about how they just might be a little hypocritical -- then my Lincoln Aviator is more carbon neutral than a Prius and I should be able to drive in the carpool lane.

After all -- fair is fair.

Maybe the difference is that I know I'm being a hypocrite....maybe someone should tell Al.

See you in the carpool lane! Bring your Hummer!

Has Battin met Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa's Hummer-loving transportation deputy yet? If not, they should. All the while, commenters continue the discussion with Battin and the senator replies again.

Photo by tyger_lyllie via Flickr