Climate change bill transforms

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 21, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

An end-of-session gut and amend has taken over a bill, SB 605 (Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens and Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills). It now creates a new program directing the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to create a strategy and implement reductions in short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). It passed off the assembly floor with 41 votes and will next be heard in a senate committee on August 25.

Short-lived climate pollutants include methane, black carbon (i.e. soot), tropospheric ozone, and some hydrofluorocarbons. Some of these emissions are already regulated under AB 32, but all of these emissions are currently either directly or indirectly regulated at the Federal, State, or Local level.

The fact sheet says the bill simply directs ARB to do what they have already decided to do in the updated scoping plan for AB 32 – to develop a strategy by 2016 to reduce SLCP. But the creation of a completely new code section with implementing powers is a vast new grant of authority that would be in addition to AB 32 and other California and U.S. air quality laws.

That means emission reductions in SB 605 might not be counted towards AB 32 goals, creating additional regulatory burdens on businesses in the state. Localized emissions, many of which are precursors of short-lived climate pollutants, are already heavily regulated by local air districts as well as by state and or federal law. SB 605 in its current form will triplicate the efforts to regulate these emissions resulting in increased costs and unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Finally, unlike AB 32, SB 605 does not include requirements that emission reduction strategies should maximize cost-effectiveness and technological feasibility. This is an important component needed to ensure that we are getting the biggest bang for the buck when creating new regulations.

CMTA opposed SB 605 and will urge the Senate Environmental Committee to hold the bill. We believe that the gut and amend maneuver resulted in a bill that does not match the intention of the bill authors.

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