[Fox News] California’s stifling environmental policies harming Latino workers as White middle class flees state: study

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A new study shows that California’s Latinos are economically stifled by the state’s progressive climate policies, which affect industries like agriculture, construction, trucking and manufacturing.

Lead researchers at Chapman University’s Demographics & Policy department, including former Democratic state Sen. Majority Leader Gloria Romero, released the “El Futuro es Latino” report this week, first obtained by Fox News Digital. Researchers identified several areas where Latinos — classified by the state’s census data — face hardship in the state.

Soledad Ursua, the lead researcher of the project and member of the Venice Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles County, told Fox News Digital that her findings revealed that Latinos are “California’s youngest and fastest growing workforce, yet the state’s progressive policies have disadvantaged this group by reducing opportunities” because of the state’s regulations to achieve its zero carbon goals. 

Housing affordability and failures in California’s public school system were also included in the report. 

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“These industries are commonly associated with what can be best described as a heavily Latino ‘carbon economy,’ where employment is impacted by such regulations,” Soledad said.

According to the report, California’s policies have “systematically weakened crucial blue-collar sectors” (like construction and agriculture) which mainly consist of Latino workers, “resulting in stagnation or decline” of businesses.

At the same time, environmental regulations — which affect most middle-class Californians — also have contributed to soaring home prices in California, reaching the highest levels in the nation, in turn contributing to California’s exodus. 

“As more of California’s historically white middle class depart to other states, Latinos are now primed to occupy that void,” the report said.

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For example, one obstacle for Latino workers is California’s truck ban, which requires that about 55% of delivery vans and small trucks, 75% of buses and larger trucks and 40% of tractor-trailers and other big rigs be fully electric by 2035. By 2045, gas and diesel trucks will be outright banned from being sold in California.  

“With about 30,000 trucks registered with the ports, it is the large companies — with deep pockets and big facilities — that are able to make the transition while smaller companies struggle,” Ursua said. “Electric trucks, with their huge batteries, can cost over $400,000, and they cannot do long hauls without stopping for long charging periods, undermining the economics of a trucking fleet.”

While the state’s environmental regulations affect Latino workers, they also heavily impact small farmowners and businesses. In January, a coalition of business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a federal lawsuit against the State of California over its two recently enacted laws forcing companies to disclose climate data.

The Chamber of Commerce — and co-plaintiffs American Farm Bureau Federation, California Chamber of Commerce, Central Valley Business Federation, Los Angeles County Business Federation and Western Growers Association — alleged in the lawsuit that the state laws will force companies to disclose direct and indirect emissions, which can be “nearly impossible for a company to accurately calculate.”

Other states have already followed California’s truck ban, including Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Connecticut, Maine and North Carolina.

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Meanwhile, Republican states are failing in the courts to push back. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit blocked an attempt by Ohio, Alabama, Texas and other Republican-led states to revoke California’s authority to set vehicle emission standards that are stricter than rules set by the federal government. The court ruled this week that the states had failed to prove how California’s emissions standards would drive up costs for gas-powered vehicles in their states.

“The clean vehicle transition is already here – it’s where the industry is going, the major automakers support our standards, and California is hitting our goals years ahead of schedule,” Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Tuesday. “We won’t stop fighting to protect our communities from pollution and the climate crisis.”

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

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