A new deal to extend California’s landmark climate program known as cap and trade was met with both praise and condemnation as environmentalists, business groups and lawmakers worked furiously to untangle — and wrangle over — the complex proposal that could be up for a vote within days.
Reactions to the agreement, unveiled late Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers after weeks of closed-door talks, reflect a long-running split in the world of environmental advocacy.
Grass-roots “environmental justice” groups expressed shock over regulatory changes and other concessions granted to Big Oil.
Mainstream environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Nature Conservancy lined up behind the hard-fought compromise as a pragmatic way forward.
One of the more controversial provisions of the bill would block local air regulators from setting additional carbon-emission rules for industry. The proposal also would limit the California Air Resources Board’s ability to set rules for carbon outside of the cap-and-trade program.
Securing the future of the cap-and-trade program — and protecting it from future court challenges — will require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature, a heavy lift especially in the more politically moderate state Assembly, where another cap-and-trade proposal last month failed to win even a majority vote.
No Republicans have publicly come out in support of the bill, but Brown and other supporters are working to drum up the support they need from both sides of the aisle.
Assembly Bill 398 would extend through 2030 a program that sets an ever-lowering cap on greenhouse gas emissions and essentially requires industry to pay to pollute, acquiring permits for every ton of carbon released into the atmosphere.
Source: Mercury News