In the 1990s, Julia Roberts starred in a movie about a lady who interviewed people in a California town who insisted they were being poisoned by the evil PG&E utility. What the film left out is that the chemical is found naturally in animals and plants and rocks and soil, plants. It is everywhere. It is also used in some manufacturing processes.

Despite the lack of any science, she was a big hit and the movie ended with the utility settling the case for an amount that changed the lives - of the attorneys, anyway.(1)

Now California is reducing levels in water of one form, chromium-6, from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb even though there were no more cases of cancer or disease in the town or anywhere since than anywhere else, outside statistical wobble. There are no special number of instances because in a universe of natural laws, it is impossible for it to be harming people at the levels it is used, but California is instead seems to live in a parallel reality where we force companies to tell parents to tell kids not to eat Tide Pods and we believe chemicals are homeopathical magic.

It is only suspect epidemiology - some people got cancer, some people are near Cr6, declare statistical significance garbage - that linked it to any disease, and that was only prolonged inhalation at extreme levels in animals.

There is not even that level of voodoo correlation for water. California wants it gone anyway. 

Are you terrified? You may be a California politician. Credit: Chemspider.

The last time they tried this the Superior Court in Sacramento struck it down and it is a mistake to do it now. Getting from a level already lower than far lower than anywhere else in the nation will cost billions of dollars. As with the homeless problem, the Governor and his one-party legislature will create a mess and then stick local communities with the bill. Overspending on everything from free health care for illegal immigrants to ridiculous government food composting has led to a deficit so large it is unknown, but it could be up to $70 billion. It is definitely illegal, which means they can't run up more bills, they have already deferred the last paychecks of government employees from this fiscal year to next using accounting tricks.

So California will create a new arbitrary level and then stick towns which can't afford it with the bill.

How can they continue to try and ban it when 30 years after 'Erin Brockovich' we know that no one is being harmed at current levels? Activists use the language of science against science. Scientists will say that with normal human variation there is no way to determine a 'safe' level in lungs. To activists that becomes 'THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL' in water and demand 0.02 parts per billion(2), so it will eventually get banned when no one can meet the standard because that is below natural levels.

Thirty-seven states with more scientific approaches just say 'That's California' and in a way they are right. You don't earn a $70 billion deficit if you have two political parties and either of them has any common sense. 

Yet how will cities already in a panic due to the homeless problem created by the Governor pay for it? The state lost an entire Congressional seat to Texas and Arizona, and it was only one seat because the Biden administration won't let the census bureau reveal how many in California are illegal immigrants and can't legally vote - but still get counted toward Congressional representation.

In that Congressional seat gone were many of the casual rich - the super-rich can live anywhere so they don't care about taxes and costs - which means there are far fewer capital gains windfalls than prior years, and those wealthy people are not coming back. During the summer, the poor already have to decide between paying the electric bill - they are forced by state law to subsidize the solar paneled homes in places like Malibu - and water. The state just decided to make water even less affordable.


(1) That wasn't the end of the story. In the real world, the attorneys portrayed as environmental beacons defending 'the little guy' came up with tens of millions of dollars in mystery fees to line their pockets, fees which totaled $133 million.  One of the lawyers, Tom Girardi, was later disbarred for doing the same thing to the settlements supposed to go toward children. Actual residents of  Hinckley who insisted they were being poisoned got $10,000 but because the lawyers winning the money wanted everything sealed, people there could never find out exactly how much their lawyers were paying themselves and for what.

Did the settlement 'hit greedy utilities where it hurts', as environmental lawyers always claim for juries? Not in the least. PG&E is the de facto official utility of state government. They can do nothing without the state approving it, which means the two bankruptcies they have undergone two bankruptcies to avoid liability with state permission. The state told them to settle the case and pass along the increased costs to all state residents. Which they did. And do now, with those solar panel subsidies so wealthy elites can 'sell power back' at the same price they buy it.

(2) Salt has the same issue, there is no level in humans where we know it can cause heart disease, but we don't ban salt.