SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California’s efforts to extend its cap and trade climate change-fighting program (all times local):
The California Senate has begun debate on Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend the state’s landmark cap-and-trade law that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Senate began discussion Monday afternoon on the first of three bills related to Brown’s plan after several hours of delays and caucus meetings.
Senators will next consider a related bill that aims to monitor and clean up the dirty air around major sources of pollution. A third bill aims to give Republicans a voice in how cap-and-trade revenue is spent. If the bills pass the Senate, they will head to the Assembly.
Cap and trade puts limit on greenhouse gas emission and requires polluters to obtain permits for each ton of carbon they emit. Lawmakers are considering extending it until 2030, a decade past its current expiration in 2020. It requires support from two-thirds of lawmakers.
Environmentalists critical of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend California’s cap-and-trade program are calling on Democrats to reject the plan and craft a more liberal alternative.
Representatives from several left-leaning advocacy groups held a news conference on the Capitol steps hours before lawmakers were scheduled to vote on Monday.
They say the plan that Brown is promoting is too friendly to the oil industry and is not aggressive enough to save the planet from climate change.
Eddie Kurtz of Courage Campaign says Democrats have a supermajority in both legislative chambers and don’t need to seek Republican votes for an aggressive climate policy.
Brown says cap-and-trade is the most cost effective way for the state to meet its aggressive goals on reducing greenhouse gases.
The Senate and Assembly plan to convene at 2 p.m.
An absence and a vacancy among California Assembly Democrats are complicating the math for renewing the state’s cap-and-trade program.
The Assembly needs 54 votes to pass legislation reauthorizing the climate change-fighting initiative through 2030. But Democrats will only have 53 members present for Monday’s vote. That makes Republican support essential for passage.
Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, of Thousand Oaks, is out all week for a long-standing family commitment that she told leadership about months ago. And last week, Assembly Democrats lost a member when U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez was sworn in.
The Senate needs 27 votes to pass the bill. Democrats hold that exact number and a spokesman says no absences are expected.
California lawmakers are nearing a vote on a climate change initiative.
The decision Monday could give another decade of life to California’s expiring cap-and-trade program. It has global implications as the largest U.S. state looks to be a model for reducing carbon emissions at a time when President Donald Trump is pulling back from fighting global warming.
Gov. Jerry Brown has pitched the legislation with nearly apocalyptic rhetoric, calling it essential for the survival of civilization. But his plan has infuriated some environmental groups who say progressive California should be far more aggressive in combatting harmful pollution.
The legislation is one of Brown’s highest priorities as he nears the end of his fourth term, but he’s struggled to line up support from the two-thirds of lawmakers needed to pass.
First Published July 17, 2017 12:00 AM