Senate Bill 605, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), passed out of the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality on May 1.
The bill requires the state air board to update and implement its plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to give first priority to reducing pollution within California so that the pollution reduction benefits, as well as the jobs and economic benefits of AB 32, accrue first and foremost to Californians.
“I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee agree that the jobs, investments and economic benefits from AB 32 should stay first and foremost in California,”Lara said. “California has some of the most polluted regions in the country, and it’s time to prioritize those communities that are disproportionately impacted.”
In the last few years, it has become common that large corporations like Shell Oil purchase forests in Michigan to meet their AB 32 obligations instead of cleaning up their two oil refineries and hundreds of fueling facilities in California, according to a press release issued by Lara’s office. SB 605 is intended to ensure that AB 32, a California state law, benefits Californians first.
SB 605 requires the State Air Resources Board (ARB) to give greater attention to reduction of pollution that produce lower volumes, but higher global warming intensity, than CO2 such as methane and black carbon. These pollutants have greater health impacts and cause the Earth to warm more quickly.
In 2006, the Legislature approved the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the 1990 levels by 2020.
This bill requires the ARB to adopt a contingency plan in case measures like cap and trade or the low-carbon fuel standard are delayed or set aside due to litigation, problems with implementation or other issues.
This bill creates a cushion by stating that any pollution reductions that cannot be met should be backfilled with funds from clean-energy funds already available upon appropriation by the Legislature.
Lastly, this bill requires the ARB to demonstrate to the JLBC that pollution reductions have been made in the state prior to approving any out of state pollution credits
This bill now moves on to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Source: Sen. Lara’s office