Sandy Peterson Points Out That People Trying to Ban Straws Suck

Stupid laws that don’t do anything

Recently, I ran across a little tidbit about some of the laws that were getting passed in the California State Assembly, and being signed into law by now-retiring Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. Most of these laws are dumb, but some are absolutely moronic. Case in point—It’s now illegal to shower and do laundry on the same day.

Assembly Bill 1668 establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years. The text of the bill reads as follows:

The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.


To help catch any scofflaws, the State Senate introduced a bill that establishes a “governing body” to oversee all water suppliers, both private and public and will require extensive paperwork from those utility companies. Oh, this governing body will not be elected, but will be appointed.

And talk about data collection! They “shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas.” We’re worried that Facebook sells data, wait until the low flow toilet people get ahold of this!

OK, so the State of California is worried about water usage. I get that. I used to live in Scottsdale, AZ where water usage got restricted enough to discourage the planting of grass. If you are a gardener in The Copper State, you learn to love the armed and dangerous succulent landscaping. The whole point was to conserve enough water so that agriculture wasn’t stressed, population growth wasn’t stressed, and people could keep their backyard pools.

California is a little crazy on this topic. And most of their problems with water stem not necessarily with Mother Nature withholding her bounty in drought years, but how the State actually manages water resources in the first place.

Not simply limiting State control of water over your shower experience, there are limits on landscaping, private pools and spas, and agriculture, although there may be some variances allowed there. It’s still unclear whether or not a small vineyard will be able to water the vines or feed the chickens on the same day. But, I’m willing to bet that the Hollywood celebrities that live in LA will be able to keep their fountains going and pools sparkling.

But 50 gallons a day for personal use, seems kind of draconian when you look at it. For example, an 8 minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water, while a load of laundry, even for those awful high efficiency washers, still uses about 40 gallons of water. That’s 57 gallons right there.

What happens if you work in construction all day, covered in mud and filth? Will your choice be clean clothes or to stink?

What do you do when you have to wash sheets and towels PLUS normal clothes? That’s at least two loads right there. Do you make it up by not showering for a couple of days? What about people with kids? Do they give up their organic cotton re-useable diapers and buy tons more disposables that are so terrible for the environment?

These are not sane laws. They are not going to make California’s water problems any better. In fact, I’d claim these laws are anti-poor because the poor won’t have access to clean clothes or clean bodies. It could hurt their chances of gaining better employment. Who wants to hire the guy who looks and smells like Pigpen from “Peanuts”?

Most people probably won’t comply with these new regulations. But they should be aware that they should just plan on moving away from California in that case. The fines PER DAY are as follows:

(1) If the violation occurs in a critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critically dry years or during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on drought conditions, ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.


(2) For all violations other than those described in paragraph (1), one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.


OK. It’s clear then. And California residents, a one-way U-Haul rental between LA and Dallas costs around $3000. So, you do the math.

These water laws, like so many “environmental” laws are prime examples of burdening the electorate and not actually accomplishing anything.

Plastic straw ban? Based on an estimate from a 9 year old. But don’t let that slow your roll Seattle and San Diego. Of course, paper straws cost about 10 times plastic straws, and the paper making process uses a ton of water. I’m sure Mother Nature will appreciate it.

Carbon credits, anyone? In California, it’s possible for one company to purchase carbon credits from another company. The idea was that the refinery in Benicia could purchase carbon credits from a solar cell manufacturer. It allows the refinery to exceed the greenhouse gas (GHG) limits (which are remarkably generous anyway—I thought CO2 was a problem), and throws a little cash to an already subsidized manufacturer.

You know what’s really unique about this arrangement? In order to make the process of buying and selling credits efficient, markets have been established that will facilitate those transactions. And like all middlemen, there is a cut. One of the biggest beneficiaries of carbon credit markets? None other than Al “I invented the internet” Gore. He’s probably going to be the first carbon billionaire. Nice work if you can get it.

You know what buying and selling carbon credits doesn’t do? It doesn’t reduce the local pollution. The area around the refinery in Benicia still has higher levels of particulates and GHGs than areas not sitting next to a refinery. But, hey! The company is serious about its environmental stewardship.

Did I mention the cost of a one-way U-Haul rental from LA to Dallas is about $3000. Come on down Californians, just leave your environmental idiots at home.

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