Calif. Assembly Nixes|Greenhouse Gas Bill

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A focal point of California’s fight to drastically curb greenhouse gases was shot down in the state Assembly late Tuesday and now its companion environmental bill is also in jeopardy.
     Senate Bill 32, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act, was stymied by a lack of Democratic support and defeated in the Assembly with a vote of 30-35. The bill needed a supermajority to pass, and 15 Assembly members abstained.
     The sweeping climate change bill aimed to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, and would align state law with emissions goals set by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Gov. Jerry Brown.
     Critics of Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley’s bill hammered it for giving state regulators increased power over the implementation of the sweeping emissions plans, and questioned the impact it could have on California’s agriculture industry.
     Pavley included a late amendment giving the Legislature the ability to modify or reject the California Air Resources Board’s emission plans, but couldn’t sway a group of 14 moderate Democrats who withheld their vote.
     A majority of the Democratic holdouts represent Southern California districts and none gave comment before the vote.
     Pavley said she is still working on amendments to the bill and that it was rushed to vote Tuesday due to Friday’s legislative deadline. Hundreds of bills must be heard on the Senate and Assembly floors before Friday’s deadline.
     The bill was motioned for reconsideration and will be heard again before Friday’s deadline, Pavley said.
     “Rather than rush ahead before members could review amendments, SB 32 will be reconsidered later this week,” Pavley tweeted after the vote. “The fight continues.”
     SB 32 is tied to another ambitious climate-change bill awaiting vote in the Assembly, SB 350, which calls for a 50 percent reduction in gasoline consumption and massive expansion of the state’s renewable energy programs.
     The bill has also been met with skepticism from a mass of Democrats and an onslaught of oil industry ads touting the bill as the “California Gasoline Restriction Act of 2015.”
     “This law will limit how often we can drive our own cars,” a Western States Petroleum Association advertisement claims.
     The climate change duo has the support of Brown’s office, which has been negotiating with the Democrat holdouts before Friday’s deadline to sway votes. Brown has spent much of the summer campaigning for increased emissions standards and spent a week at the Vatican discussing climate change with the Pope.

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