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Out West student blog

CARB loading…

Tony enjoys lunch with his wife and grandmother in Tres Pinos, CA. Image credit: Robert Cruz

Tony Cruz '22
Hometown: Elk Grove, CA
Major: Chemical Engineering
Intern, California Air Resources Board

Nearly two months after I began my work with the California Air Resources Board, I have made significant progress on a backup for ARBER (the Air Resources Board Equipment Registration system) and have attended many of the Chair's private meetings with important stakeholders. 

I came into my position in the Chair's office with a cynical view that CARB's role was totally adversarial to business interests. Regulatory agencies evoke the image of Old Western sheriffs chasing down outlaws in the deserts and valleys. While this narrative is entertaining in Hollywood movies, it does not reflect the true nature of CARB and its position in the regulatory landscape. The true spirit of the American West is not confrontational or aggressive, but rather cooperative and communal. Attending Chair Randolph's meetings with business, government, and environmental advocacy stakeholders has shown me that CARB has the power to bring seemingly adversarial groups together in the interest of combating climate change. Petroleum companies are scaling up renewable fuel production with incentives from cap and trade programs. Marathon was not forced to transform the Golden Eagle Refinery in Martinez into a biofuel processing plant; it came to that decision after decades of good-faith motivation by CARB led to the petrochemical giant recognizing its potential for combating climate change. The future of government regulation is increasingly cooperative as companies previously skeptical of environmental justice begin to realize that climate change solutions can't be put off any longer.

My work with the Toxics and Transportation Division has sharpened my coding skills and has given me valuable insight into the rank-and-file level of the agency. In the past seven weeks, I have been developing a backup for the Air Resources Board Equipment Registration System (ARBER). By automating the data entry process, my program will give engineers and staff more time to respond to business compliance issues and implement upcoming regulations for truck refrigeration units and drayage trucks. When complete, my system will serve CARB well because all the regulation in the world is useless without compliance enforcement. Local, state, and even foreign regulatory agencies look to CARB's leadership in efficiently crafting and enforcing regulations. The backup I am developing will ensure that TTD can operate smoothly in an era of increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

After last summer's devastating wildfires and subsequent pollution, I was disillusioned with California's ability to combat the very apparent, no longer impending climate crisis. My work with CARB this summer has sharpened my technical skills and given me valuable insight into how CARB's accumulated soft power can ensure that business and governmental interests around the world can work together to ensure the security of our environmental resources.

Read more at the Out West Student Blog »

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