Effort to cap emissions in California heads to governor

| 9/8/2006

A push to make California the first state to set its own cap on greenhouse gas emissions has cleared the Legislature and is headed to the governor’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 Assembly voted 47-32 on the last day of the legislative session to approve Senate changes to the bill. The vote cleared the way for the effort to move to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supports the initiative.

The bill – AB32 – 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 recently 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 CARB 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.”