Hydrogen environmental performance standards bill clears Senate

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 2, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

"I intend to show the world that economic growth and the environment can co-exist."  Those were the words of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his first State of the State speech.  He was referring to the Hydrogen Highway, a planned network of hydrogen refueling stations along California's highways.

In an executive order last year, Schwarzenegger called for the convening of a panel to formulate an implementation strategy, to be known as the "California Hydrogen Blueprint Plan" which was issued in March of last year.

A bill recently cleared the Senate and is now in the Assembly which goes well beyond the recommendations contained in the Blueprint Plan and may end up dashing the hopes of Hydrogen Highway supporters.  SB 1505 (Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) requires the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations ensuring that state funding for hydrogen fuel production contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions and toxic air contaminants, with a requirement that no less than 33.3 percent of the hydrogen is made from eligible renewable energy resources.

For CMTA and the other members of the "Sustainable Environment and Economy for California Coalition" (SEE), our top priority is to ensure that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California are accomplished in a manner that will not jeopardize our state's economy, jobs and energy supply.  SEE opposes SB 1505, which would hinder efforts to develop hydrogen as a transportation fuel in this state.  It would place in statute overly prescriptive standards when hydrogen technology is still in it’s early stage of research, development and demonstration. 

SB 1505 would chill investment in the development of hydrogen technology and unnecessarily lock in statute a long-term policy on hydrogen fuel for transportation. Instead of encouraging innovation, this measure would stifle it and cause distortion in the hydrogen market at its very inception.

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