Se­nate gives green light to cli­mate change bill

Law­mak­ers also vote to ban new offshore drilling in Santa Bar­bara area where oil spill oc­curred.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Chris Mege­rian and Pa­trick McGreevy

SACRA­MENTO — State se­na­tors passed leg­is­la­tion Wed­nes­day in­tended to help Cal­i­for­nia tackle cli­mate change by set­ting new tar­gets for gen­er­at­ing re­new­able en­ergy, re­duc­ing gaso­line use and in­creas­ing ener- gy ef­fi­ciency in build­ings.

The law­mak­ers also ap­proved a mea­sure that would ban new offshore oil drilling from an area in the Santa Bar­bara Chan­nel known as Tran­quil­lon Ridge, two weeks af­ter an oil spill at nearby Refu­gio State Beach.

The cli­mate change bill, which now goes to the As­sem­bly with other bills passed by the Se­nate, ad­vances goals out­lined by Gov. Jerry Brown this year.

If passed by the As­sem­bly and signed into law, the bill would re­quire Cal­i­for­nia to meet sev­eral ob­jec­tives by 2030: gen­er­at­ing 50% of its elec­tric­ity from re­new­able sources, dou­bling en­ergy ef­fi­ciency in older build­ings and cut­ting in half the amount of gaso­line used on state roads.

“These stan­dards are rea­son­able, achiev­able and con­sis­tent,” said Se­nate leader Kevin de León (D-Los An­ge­les), au­thor of the pro­posal.

Repub­li­cans op­posed the mea­sure, which they said would raise fuel costs and stif le busi­nesses with new reg­u­la­tions. And they ques­tioned whether the tar­gets were achiev­able.

“We have a very lofty and

noble goal,” said Se­nate Re­pub­li­can leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas). “But other than feel­ing good about it, what does it ac­com­plish?”

De León said the plan would lead to cleaner air in the Cen­tral Val­ley, which has some of the state’s worst pol­lu­tion. He and other Democrats said the mea­sure, SB 350, would lead to new in­vest­ment in cleaner tech­nolo­gies.

“This bill is not a job killer,” said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Fran­cisco). “It is a ma­jor job cre­ator.”

Se­na­tors passed sev­eral other pro­pos­als re­lated to cli­mate change Wed­nes­day.

One, SB 32 by Sen. Fran Pav­ley (D-Agoura Hills), would put into law ex­ec­u­tive or­ders is­sued by Brown and his pre­de­ces­sor, Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger. It would re­quire the state to re­duce its green­house gas emis­sions to 40% be­low 1990 lev­els by 2030, and then to 80% be­low 1990 lev­els by 2050.

The other bill, SB 185 by De León, would re­quire the state’s pen­sion funds, the two largest pub­lic funds in the coun­try, to di­vest from coal.

The As­sem­bly ap­proved and sent to the Se­nate sev­eral cli­mate-re­lated mea­sures, in­clud­ing AB 1288 by Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). It would re­move the ex­pi­ra­tion date for the state’s cap-and-trade pro­gram, in which per­mits to pol­lute are traded and fees are levied.

On the pro­posal to ban oil drilling, Sen. Han­nah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Bar­bara) said the Tran­quil­lon Ridge sec­tor is des­ig­nated as a Ma­rine Pro­tected Area, so the state should not risk oil spills by al­low­ing drilling there.

The re­gion has the only wa­ters along Cal­i­for­nia’s coast that could be used for new oil pro­duc­tion.

“As long as you drill, there will be spills,” Jackson said, adding that the pro­posal would not af­fect pro­duc­tion of the 30 or so ex­ist­ing oil rigs off the Cal­i­for­nia coast. “It just says we are done … de­vel­op­ing new oil.”

The leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced be­fore the May 19 leak from an oil pipe­line that re­leased as much as 101,000 gallons of crude at Refu­gio State Beach, in­clud­ing 21,000 gallons that f lowed into the Pacific Ocean.

But co-au­thors Jackson and Sen. Mike McGuire (D-San Rafael) cited the spill Wed­nes­day as ev­i­dence of the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of oil op­er­a­tions in en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive re­gions.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Mur­ri­eta) op­posed the mea­sure, SB 788, say­ing it would cost the state mil­lions of dol­lars in po­ten­tial rev­enue as well as new oil in­dus­try jobs.

“This bill, I think, sends the wrong mes­sage about oil and gas pro­duc­tion in our state,” he said.

While he said green en­ergy should be pur­sued, “oil and gas are still an im­por­tant part of the equa­tion” for meet­ing the state’s en­ergy needs.

Also on Wed­nes­day:

The Se­nate voted to ex­pand the list of mis­de­meanors that re­sult in a 10-year ban on the pos­ses­sion of firearms. Deal­ing in firearms with­out a li­cense, petty theft in­volv­ing a firearm, sell­ing am­mu­ni­tion to some­one younger than 21 and tak­ing or car­ry­ing am­mu­ni­tion onto school grounds would be in­cluded un­der SB 347 by Jackson.

The As­sem­bly passed AB 1200, a mea­sure by Assem­bly­man Rich Gor­don (D-San Ma­teo), to re­quire dis­clo­sure of lob­by­ing ac­tiv­ity re­lated to state pur­chas­ing con­tracts.

The As­sem­bly ad­vanced a pro­posal to re­quire that par­ents be no­ti­fied when blood sam­ples taken from new­borns to screen for dis­eases are re­tained by the state for re­search. The mea­sure is AB 170 by Assem­bly­man Mike Gatto (D-Los An­ge­les).

A mea­sure to col­lect data on po­lice stops to help the state eval­u­ate the oc­cur­rence of racial pro­fil­ing passed the As­sem­bly. AB 953 is by As­sem­bly­woman Shirley We­ber (D-San Diego).

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