The former action-hero in an interview on the CBS program 60 Minutes discussed ‘green’ policy, emission limits, climate change, and renewable energy. He also was unafraid to criticize the Bush administration for their lack of ‘interest’ in cutting tailpipe emissions.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes tonight, vowed to push on with his tough environmental laws despite last month’s announcement that his state faced a whopping $40 billion deficit.
“The more difficult it gets, the more joy I find in it. Because it’s just great to figure out all of the ways of bringing people together and shaping policy. But to get it done, to get there is always a long process. But when you get it done, it’s very satisfying,” Gov. Schwarzenegger told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.
When put on the spot and asked if the current economic crisis currently makes it a bad time to change America’s energy habits, Schwarzenegger quickly dismissed that notion.
“I think that there’s never the wrong time. There’s always the right time. I will argue the opposite. Because we have seen that the industries that are performing well in California, even right now in this economic decline, is green technology. It’s really spectacular to see those manufacturers coming up to me and saying, ‘Our business is booming,’ while there’s an economic decline. So, green technology’s where it’s at,” the governor retorted.
The former actor also addressed his concern that the American automakers were not doing enough to assist in the energy changeover.
“I have been in Detroit in 2000 and have talked to the car manufacturers then to put hydrogen engines in the cars and start experimenting. And they said to me then, ‘Well, this would take five to ten years to do something like that.’ Well, that time has come now. Where are the cars?” Schwarzenegger questioned.
When Pelley noted the hatred that the city of Detroit had for him after he came out with his ultra-strict emission laws, even going as far as displaying a billboard which read ‘Arnold to Detroit: drop dead’, the governor pretty much joked it off.
That was the best free publicity I could get. But actually I was not saying, ‘Arnold to Detroit: drop dead,’ I was just saying, ‘Get off your butt,’” Schwarzenegger said.
Mr. Schwarzenegger also spoke about the Hummer he owns, which he spent $100,000 to convert from a military vehicle to a legal civilian one. In fact, he is the inventor of the civilian Hummer, the infamous gas-guzzler, when he invested the astounding sum after being told by the military manufacturer that it couldn’t be done.
His Hummer has been modified and can now run on bio-fuel.
“You can literally go up to a restaurant and get cooking oil,” he said. “it runs, basically, on anything. Anything natural.”
He also knocked environmentalists who tried to hold up a proposed solar project in the Mojave desert for what they said can endanger some animals.
“The environmentalists are the first ones to say, ‘Yes, we need renewable energy. We should get rid of, you know, using our energy from coal and from natural gas,’ and all those kind of things. But then when you say, ‘Okay, let’s do renewable, let’s go that,’ ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up, not so fast,’” reasoned Schwarzenegger.
He also said that when trying to cut tailpipe emissions, he was thwarted by an uninterested Bush administration.
“I could tell in his eyes (President Bush’s EPA administrator Stephen Johnson) that he did not believe in it, that we would never get it, that he will create every obstacle. And the administration just had no interest in it.”