California bill would cap emissions

| 8/31/2006

A push to make California the first state to set its own cap on greenhouse gas emissions is one vote away from heading to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office. The effort takes several steps during the next 14 years to reduce emissions at such locations as power plants and oil refineries.

The Senate voted 23-14 Wed., Aug. 30, to approve the bill shortly after the Republican governor and top Democrats agreed on provisions in the bill, despite the angst of GOP lawmakers. The bill – AB32 – has been sent back to the Democrat-controlled Assembly for approval of changes before the session concludes for the year Thurs., Aug. 31.

The bill is intended to cap greenhouse gas emissions – widely blamed for global warming – at 1990 levels by 2020. If achieved, it would reduce emissions by about 25 percent.

Sponsored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, the bill also would require the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations to require reporting of emissions from the biggest polluters by 2008.

The senior vice president for the California Trucking Association told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio that she doesn’t believe the new regulations would affect truck drivers or companies.

“I don’t think the regulations will impact trucking. They’re going to impact the energy companies,” said Stephanie Williams of Caltrux. “It’s a stationary source fight against the mobile source community. They’re putting the regulations on the stationary sources.”

Supporters say the bill is a step forward in fighting global climate change, The Associated Press reported. Some opponents say it would increase costs and force businesses to scale back their operations in the state while others say climate change should be addressed at the national level, not on a state-by-state basis.

The bill also would authorize the California Air Resources Board to start measuring the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions coming from major pollution sources. Limits would be required to be put in place by 2012.

An emergency provision also is in place to allow the governor to delay implementation of the regulations for up to one year in the event of “extraordinary circumstances, catastrophic events or threat of significant economic harm.”