California officials headed to Ireland for study trip
A group of California lawmakers and business leaders is flying to Ireland on Thursday to study, among other things, how to turn sewage and wind into energy.
The 10-day trip is largely being paid for by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a group that includes Chevron Corp., Southern California Edison, Sempra Energy and the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The group declined to say how many are going. Last year, it took seven lawmakers to Spain.
The trip by lawmakers to Ireland has its critics. "They should be staying in Sacramento to deal with the alleged budget deficit," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.
Those planning to take the trip, including Assembly Democrats Fiona Ma of San Francisco and Steven Bradford of Gardena, say no taxpayer money is being used, and they hope to gain valuable information in Europe.
The trip is timely because the Legislature just approved a mandate to boost the use of renewable energy, Bradford said. "I want to see what other countries including Ireland are doing to make this sustainable and affordable, and make sure the jobs are real," Bradford said, noting he has to work out some scheduling conflicts to make the trip.
Added Ma, "Ireland has been leading the way in green technology, waste diversion and wind energy and I always look forward to exploring what other countries are doing."
-- Patrick McGreevy