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Schwarzenegger outlines environmental plan

Actor would promote hydrogen fuel, oppose offshore drilling


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(CNN) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger laid out his environmental plan for California on Sunday, vowing to cut in half the state's air pollution if he is elected governor, and insisting that one can be both pro-environment and pro-business.

An environmentally responsible life does not require giving up luxuries, he told several dozen supporters in the coastal community of Carpinteria, about 84 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

"I want a big SUV because I have four children and to protect the family," he said.

Schwarzenegger drives a Hummer, which costs more than $100,000 and has an EPA mileage estimate of 13 miles per gallon in city driving and 17 on the highway, according to Edmunds.com.

He said he would work to make SUVs and other vehicles more environmentally friendly by encouraging U.S. automakers to build hydrogen-fueled cars. That could be done via public-private partnerships to build hydrogen fueling stations every 20 miles on California's interstates, he said.

"Hundreds of thousands" of the clean-burning vehicles could be on the state's roads by the end of the decade, he said.

The actor said he would fit his own Hummer with a fuel cell, which combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and emits only water as a byproduct, to test the technology, according to the Reuters news agency.

Schwarzenegger also said he would work to reduce congestion by replacing tollbooths with technology that can collect fees automatically and would tighten enforcement of laws that would get the state's biggest-polluting vehicles off the roads.

In addition, he said he would speed the repair of leaking sewer systems and protect the coasts by opposing offshore oil drilling.

The Republican candidate who is seeking to unseat Gov. Gray Davis in the state's gubernatorial recall election said protecting the environment need not cost jobs.

"You can protect jobs and the environment at the same time; all it takes is leadership," he said. "As governor, I'll bring leadership, and I'll make sure that this stays the Golden Coast it is."

Schwarzenegger then accused the Democratic governor of only recently signing on to the pro-environment cause.

Asked by a reporter about pro-environment bills Davis has signed in the past year, the movie star said, "As you know, Gray Davis has just started talking about the environment in the last few days, so I wouldn't say that he did something [in] the last year. I'm not aware of all those bills that he has signed the last year."

He added, "The people that are experts have made it very clear that the air and the water and all those things are worse today, and the environment is worse off today than it was a few years ago."

In a written statement, Peter Ragone, Davis' communications director, said "In the past four years Governor Davis has signed more than 200 measures protecting California's environment. These laws include the toughest air and water quality laws in America, most importantly, a landmark bill to limit greenhouse gases.

"We already know Arnold doesn't vote regularly in elections; now we know he doesn't read the papers either."

The recall election's date was put in doubt last week when a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ordered the election postponed until March, saying error-prone punch-card systems would put voters in six counties at a disadvantage. An 11-judge panel of the appeals court agreed to reconsider arguments Monday. (Full story)

During his speech, Schwarzenegger ignored a handful of hecklers, some of whom carried signs opposing his candidacy.

The signs included "We need a real governor, not an actor"; "Arnold -- Slick as Oil"; and "Arnold's Green = $".

"I didn't hear a plan," said Pedro Nava of the California Coastal Commission, a group that works for environmentally sustainable and prudent use of the state's coastal resources, according to its Web site. "I heard platitudes, I heard empty phrases, I heard coaching, I heard a script."

Hydrogen fuel will not soon be a practical alternative to gasoline as a fuel for vehicles, he said.


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