Gino DiCaro

On climate change, modest gains for Senate dems

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Sept. 14, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

At a Capitol press conference in February, Senate Democrats introduced a package of bills to "create a simple, direct and cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gases right now here in California."

The reaction from the Governor's office was swift and unambiguous, leaving no doubt as to where the administration stood on the bills. "We cannot abandon AB 32 just seven weeks after it became law," the Governor's spokesperson said.  "We should work together to reduce climate change by implementing AB 32, not undermining it."

Seven months later, with the regular session of the Legislature adjourned for the year, only two of the eight bills will reach the Governor's desk:

  • SB 210 (Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego), which is opposed by CMTA, requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt, implement, and enforce a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) by January 10, 2010 to reduce the carbon content of transportation fuels in California by 10 percent by January 1, 2020.  The bill is unnecessary and premature, and prejudges the outcome of the AB 32 implementation process currently underway and the LCFS established by executive order.  In January of this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the order [S-01-07] establishing a LCFS for transportation fuels, with market-based mechanisms to achieve the standard at the lowest cost to consumers and businesses.  CARB began the regulatory process to implement the LCFS this summer, with the new standard to be completed by December 2008.

  • SB 660 (Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland) establishes the Strategic Research Investment Council to coordinate the expenditure of various state research, development, and demonstration funds for climate-related activities and policies.

    The other six bills originally introduced as part of the package are stalled in the Assembly and won't be considered again by legislators until next January at the earliest:

  • SB 494 (Kehoe), which failed passage in the Assembly Transportation Committee but is eligible for reconsideration, requires CARB to adopt regulations to ensure that 25 percent of new passenger and light-duty trucks sold in California beginning in 2015 are clean alternative vehicles, and that 50 percent of new passenger and light-duty trucks sold in 2020 are clean alternative vehicles.

  • SB 140 (Kehoe), on the Assembly floor, requires that diesel fuel sold in California contain at least 2 percent renewable diesel within one year after CARB makes a specified determinations and that two years later it contain at least 5 percent renewable diesel.

  • SB 411 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) increases the utility renewable electricity portfolio requirement from 20 to 33 percent. This bill, and the remaining three, were held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last month.

  • SB 375 (Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento) requires state transportation planning agencies to revise their planning guidelines for the purpose of creating "preferred growth scenarios" to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.

    "    SB 9 (Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) establishes a process to select and fund projects using $2 billion of the Proposition 1B transportation bonds designated to reduce congestion and air pollution along California's trade corridors.

  • SB 19 (Lowenthal) establishes criteria for funding projects under Proposition 1B to reduce air emissions associated with goods movement.

For more information on this important topic, join the CMTA Climate Change Advisory Committee by contacting Joe Lyons

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