Editor’s Note: The following is a Special Report and opinion from ModernJeeper Don Amador.
Fighting for our rights is nothing new for many of us that work in the field of recreation advocacy and/or resource management. Over the last 7 months, we have experienced a plethora of executive orders issued by local and state government officials in response to both the COVID and wildfire crisis. Some of these emergency directives have made sense to either streamline the regulatory process to expedite fuel reduction projects, meet critical electrical power demand, or protect public safety.
Unfortunately, it appears that some of these executive order-prohibitions have infringed on our Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly or freedom of speech. And, have created a culture of management by executive orders often with little or no debate in the public arena.
By now, many of you have expressed legitimate concerns about the recent climate crisis inspired Executive Order (EO) issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom that proposes to ban the sale and use of gasoline-powered OHVs and passenger cars/trucks. The main tenets of that EO are listed below:
1 – It shall be a goal of the State that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will be zero-emission by 2035. It shall be a further goal of the State that 100 percent of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the State be zero-emission by 2045 for all operations where feasible and by 2035 for drayage trucks. It shall be further a goal of the State to transition to 100 percent zero-emission off-road vehicles and equipment by 2035 where feasible.
2 – The State Air Resources Board, to the extent consistent with State and federal law, shall develop and propose:
- a) Passenger vehicle and truck regulations requiring increasing volumes of new zero-emission vehicles sold in the State towards the target of 100 percent of in-state sales by 2035.
- b) Medium- and heavy-duty vehicle regulations requiring increasing volumes of new zero-emission trucks and buses sold and operated in the State towards the target of 100 percent of the fleet transitioning to zero-emission vehicles by 2045 everywhere feasible and for all drayage trucks to be zero emission by 2035.
- c) Strategies, in coordination with other State agencies, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local air districts, to achieve 100 percent zero-emission from off-road vehicles and equipment operations in the State by 2035. In implementing this Paragraph, the State Air Resources Board shall act consistently with technological feasibility and cost-effectiveness.
However well-intentioned this EO is – I believe it ignores, disrespects, and damages the ongoing and robust collaborative process that has been occurring between diverse interest groups from motorized/non-motorized recreation, land agencies, industry, business, and other stakeholders to address and solve many of our public land management and resource issues.
The shift to electric passenger cars, trucks, and OHVs is already taking place. Many state parks and other land management agencies have added electric vehicles to their fleet in appropriate areas. OHV manufacturers are making electric dirt-bikes, youth OHVs, SxSs, and dual-sport motorcycles and a growing number of customers are buying them.
Forest health collaboratives and their members are working to address fuel loading on our forest and grasslands. Often these projects are funded by the state Climate Change Investment grant program. Good things are happening!
Executive Orders have a role to address an immediate and specific emergency when there is not enough time to address said issue through the legislative process.
It’s my concern that a significant number of users and other constituents who vehemently oppose this EO will now be forced to abandon the aforementioned collaborative efforts to band together to fight a plan that is an affront our culture and highly treasured way of life.
LINK TO NEWSOM EO
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Don Amador has been in the trail advocacy and recreation management profession for almost 30 years. Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting. Don is President/CEO of the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance. Don is core-team lead for FireScape Mendocino and serves on the CA Governor’s Wildfire Taskforce, Northern Region Prioritization Group.
Don served as a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition from 1996 until June, 2018. Don served on the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission from 1994-2000. He has won numerous awards including being a 2016 Inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Don currently serves as the government affairs director for AMA District 36 in Northern California and is a contributing contributor to Modern Jeeper.