Two years ago, a bill that would have required California to get more power from clean, renewable sources such as the sun and wind stalled in the Legislature. Last year, lawmakers whiffed again. If they get a third strike on this overwhelmingly popular measure in the coming weeks, let's say we throw the bums out.
Currently, investor-owned utilities in California are required to obtain 20% of their power from renewable sources by the end of 2010. That's a good start, but it doesn't go far enough. The state is under a mandate to cut its greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020, and in order to accomplish that, it must get at least a third of its electricity from clean sources, according to the Air Resources Board. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Democrat in the Legislature who doesn't embrace the 33% by 2020 goal, along with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California Public Utilities Commission, the green lobby and, according to polls, the state's voters. So why is it so hard to accomplish politically?