Tougher Climate-Change|Law Likely in California

SACRAMENTO (CN) — Nearly a year after being shelved by oil industry lobbying, a climate change bill requiring drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions was narrowly approved Tuesday in the California Assembly.
     The proposal enhances and extends California’s landmark 2006 greenhouse gas reduction law and strengthens the state’s rigid stance on environmental policy by requiring a 40 percent reduction from 1990 greenhouse levels by 2030.
     The Assembly approved Senate Bill 32 by 47-29, with just one Republican yes vote, and sent it back to the Democratic-led Senate for final approval.
     Proponents, including Gov. Jerry Brown, say bolstering California’s stringent emissions laws will help wean the state off fossil fuels and encourage growth in the Golden State’s renewable energy industry.
     Brown reacted to the vote by bashing the oil industry’s latest attempts to foil the proposal, and said he would quickly sign the bill once approved by the Senate.
     “Today, the Assembly speaker, most Democrats and one brave Republican passed SB 32, rejecting the brazen deception of the oil lobby and their Trump-inspired allies who deny science and fight every reasonable effort to curb global warming,” Brown said in a snappish statement.
     The Assembly passage came almost a year after the state’s top Democrats pulled the bill for lack of support from their own party. Critics slammed the bill for giving regulators more control over the sweeping emissions law. Fourteen Democrats abstained from voting.
     Brown called it a “titanic struggle” with the oil industry and its “bottomless war chest.”
     During an extended Assembly floor debate Tuesday, Republicans said the tougher emissions standards will damage California businesses, and the bill’s authors should not have brought it back for a vote. They said the bill grants too much authority to the California Air Resources Board, the regulator responsible for implementing the state’s emissions policy.
     “SB 32 grants even more power to this unelected body,” said Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido.
     Others accused the bill’s authors of being misled by billionaire lobbyist and likely gubernatorial candidate Tom Steyer.
     “You’re dancing to the flute of a rich hedge fund billionaire who’s running for governor and going up on TV and proposing policies that are against your district, that will put your people out of work,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake.
     The fate of SB 32 is directly linked to a companion proposal, Assembly Bill 197, which is also progressing through the Legislature. The proposal by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, creates a legislative committee to oversee the Air Resources Board and requires the regulator to provide periodic updates on the state’s progress toward the lofty emissions targets.
     Both climate change bills contain language stating that they will become operative only if both are signed by Brown by the end of the year.
     Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said it’s critical that lawmakers do not “turn back now,” but pass both climate change bills.
     “Our climate change efforts are proof California can be progressive and prosperous at the same time. Harmful emissions are going down, and the economy is going up. That’s a success story — plain and simple,” Rendon said in a statement.

%d bloggers like this: