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Gas Reduction Targets Removed from Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Bill

September 10, 2015
All eyes in the Capitol were tuned to the Cal Channel at 5 p.m. Wednesday for a last-minute news conference with Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senate President pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles).
 
The three gathered the Capitol Press Corps to announce that the ambitious gas reduction mandate had been taken out of De León’s SB 350. He wanted a 50 percent reduction in petroleum usage by 2030.

The announcement marks the first real defeat for the four-term California governor who has made addressing climate change a hallmark of his current tenure in office. This late-breaking amendment is the result of pressure exerted by moderate Democrats who would not support SB 350 in its current form.
 
Questions remain however on whether the gas reduction mandates stripped from SB 350 are in fact necessary for the Governor to achieve such standards. The California Air Resources Board has broad regulatory authority to reduce emissions, which could ultimately lead to a reduction in gas consumption. In addition, the Governor in April issued an executive order on Greenhouse Gas Reduction to cut emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Federal standards through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy require vehicle manufacturers to comply with the gas mileage standards set by the Department of Transportation.
 
Significant provisions remain in SB 350 to address climate change by 2030. It still would mandate a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency in existing buildings, as well as an increase in the renewable portfolio standard for utilities from 33 to 50 percent in that time frame.


 
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