Tag Archives: Sen. Fran Pavley

SF CHRON: Climate bills pass California Legislature, Gov. Brown will sign

Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle

Climate bills pass Legislature, await Brown’s OK

By Melody Gutierrez, August 25, 2016
Gov. Jerry Brown said he plans to sign the bills when they reach his desk. Photo: Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press
Gov. Jerry Brown said he plans to sign the bills when they reach his desk. Photo: Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature passed two bills Wednesday that extend the state’s ambitious goals to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases and provide additional oversight on the agency charged with carrying out climate-change policies.

Gov. Jerry Brown praised lawmakers for passing SB32 and AB197, saying passage was an important milestone after similar efforts failed last year amid intense lobbying by the oil industry. Brown said he plans to sign the bills when they reach his desk.

“Legislation is not like Twitter,” Brown said. “You don’t do it in 140 characters or in a few seconds. It takes months and sometimes years. It takes trying, failing, amending and trying again; negotiation. There are 120 members in the Legislature, and not everyone sees things the same way.”

SB32 calls for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The bill expands on AB32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. The state is expected to reach that target.

“We have discovered, with these policies, our economy continues to go up, but our emissions are going down,” said termed-out state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills (Los Angeles County). “It’s not a choice between a healthy environment and sound economy. In California, we can do it both ways.”

AB197 directs the California Air Resources Board to prioritize disadvantaged communities in its climate-change regulations, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the measures it considers. The bill also allows the Legislature to appoint two lawmakers as nonvoting members of the board, a move supporters said will provide more transparency and oversight on the agency.

Lawmakers have criticized the lack of diversity on the board, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount (Los Angeles County) said the board has a credibility problem.

“Any exercise of authority has to be reviewed,” Brown said when asked about the criticism of the board that is largely appointed by him. “Any time you have the power to say no or reduce your high-carbon fuel, reduce your pollutants, change the way a carbonized society works, it will be felt with some sting. That’s the reality, but we want to make sure we are doing it in a way that advances our goals of equity and inclusion.”

Brown unsuccessfully lobbied to have the cap-and-trade program included in SB32, but lawmakers balked because the bill already faced an uncertain future in the Assembly. On Tuesday, the Assembly narrowly passed the bill with one vote to spare, although several Democratic lawmakers changed their votes to approve of the legislation after it passed.

The Senate passed SB32 on Wednesday in a 25-13 vote.

The future of cap-and-trade remains uncertain due to a legal challenge from the California Chamber of Commerce. That uncertainty, along with some fearing SB32 would not be signed into law, contributed to poor auction results this year.

EDITORIAL On Senate Bill 32

Step ahead on climate

California is doubling down in the fight against climate change. After teetering on defeat, a state bill that expands efforts to curb heat-trapping emissions is in the final stages of approval.

The measure, SB32, builds on the state’s plan in 2006 to cut greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2020, a goal that’s already within reach. With both the Senate and now the Assembly in support, the bill pushes the state to trim climate-altering emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

An accompanying bill would give the state Air Resources Board more power to regulate industrial and refinery emissions in a bow to lawmakers from low-income areas who want more out of climate change ideas. That bill, AB197, is hanging, a target for business lobbyists who want to sink the overall effort. Passing this second measure is essential to complete a comprehensive effort.

Still, the success so far is worth notice. California isn’t budging from its course. White House aides and Gov. Jerry Brown called wavering moderate Democrats for their votes, which the same lawmakers had withheld last year. With the nation stalled on climate change steps, California has a chance to move forward and demonstrate the effects, costs and benefits of its aggressive steps. The ability to add pollution controls to a roaring economy is making the state a globally watched experiment.

The rules need attention. One key mechanism is the cap and trade exchange that obliges polluting industries to purchase credits from cleaner operations. The sales aren’t netting the expected amounts with less than $10 million spent in the latest auction. The money is due to go to pollution-limiting programs such as transit and the struggling high speed rail project.

Defenders of the cap and trade plan say that uncertainty over the legislative outcome is to blame for the weak revenue. Now that the state’s direction is emphatically decided, the value of pollution credits should stabilize, they argue. That’s a claim that needs testing.

On balance, Brown has been a good advocate for climate action, though he does have one notable blind spot: his continued silence on a plan to ship major quantities of coal through a new Oakland port facility for overseas combustion. That project just happens to belong to Phil Tagami, a buddy and political donor to the governor. May we remind the governor of his own words from last year: “It doesn’t make sense to be shutting down coal plants (in the U.S.) and then export it for somebody else to burn in a more dirty way,” he said.

Let the record be clear: Brown’s climate commitment is incomplete until he takes a stand, one way or another, on that Oakland coal train.

 

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SF CHRONICLE EDITORIAL: Showdown in Sacramento

Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle

Legislature needs to pass California’s climate bills now

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial, September 8, 2015 4:54pm
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León visits the Chronicle in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 26, 2015 Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León visits the Chronicle in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 26, 2015 Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

This was never going to be easy.

When California passed AB32 in 2006, state leaders were feted all over the world for their strong leadership and their willingness to do the hard work in the fight against climate change.

But now the party’s over. The state Legislature is embroiled in a tough fight around SB350 and SB32, two critical bills that represent California’s next steps toward achieving our climate change goals.

This year’s legislative deadline is Friday, so legislators must act now.

The most controversial bill is SB350, by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles.

The petroleum industry has its guns aimed on the bill, which would require the state Air Resources Board to decide how the state should reduce petroleum use by 50 percent over the next 15 years and require utilities to increase their renewable energy portfolios to 50 percent by 2030. It would also require improved energy efficiency in buildings.

Those are tough goals, but they’re achievable. California can get there without resorting to the scare tactics that the oil industry is suggesting in its disingenuous ad campaigns (a ban on minivans and SUVs, Soviet-style gas rationing, and other over-the-top threats).

The state Assembly’s own analysis points out that California’s existing regulations have already set the stage for a decline in statewide petroleum consumption by 31 to 41 percent by 2030.

SB350 represents one more push, not a paradigm shift.

Still, there are a few waverers among the moderate Democrats in the state Assembly. (SB350 has already passed the state Senate.)

De León is still seeking to compromise with them (he’s offered amendments to beef up oversight of the state Air Resources Board and is open to giving the state Legislature a chance to modify whatever regulations the board winds up proposing), which is positive. Increasing oversight of the board would be an especially good idea.

But there should be no compromise on the centerpiece guidelines of the bill. After all, the climate isn’t willing to compromise with California.

SB32, authored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills (Los Angeles County), has gotten less attention — but it doesn’t deserve to get lost in the end-of-the-year fray.

SB32 requires California to further slash greenhouse gas emissions, first to 40 percent below 1990 levels (by 2030), and eventually to 80 percent below 1990 levels (by 2050).

These are ambitious goals, and the state Legislature will have to refine them as technology and conditions change. But there’s no reason to believe that California can’t adapt to high standards.

Since we passed AB32, California’s economy has grown — not cratered. We’ve added jobs all over the economy, from manufacturing to clean technology.

Have there been financial costs? Yes. But Californians also value public health and the future of the planet, and that’s why the state Legislature needs to stop dithering and pass SB32 and SB350.

 

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SF Chron Editorial: Potential Crude Peril

Repost from The San Francisco Chronicle- Editorials
[Editor:  Here is the original 119-page California Council on Science & Technology report, (Part II).  Also of interest, Part I of the Study.  (Both are huge downloads – be patient.)  See also a somewhat critical report by Ken Broder of AllGov.   – RS]

As new study shows, we don’t know how dangerous fracking might be

San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 2015
Protesters against fracking rallied at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and marched for two miles to Lake Merritt Boulevard, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle
Protesters against fracking rallied at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and marched for two miles to Lake Merritt Boulevard, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle

A long-anticipated scientific report about hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, explains just how much we don’t know about the potential effects of chemicals used in the controversial oil extraction technique. The Legislature and California’s regulatory agencies need to heed the report’s warnings and insist on more data from oil companies about their activities.

“The environmental characteristics of many chemicals remain unknown,” write the authors of the report, which was conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“We lack information to determine if these chemicals would present a threat to human health or the environment if released to groundwater or other environmental media.”

The report concludes that we don’t know the risks and hazards associated with some two-thirds of the additives used in fracking, and the toxicity of more than half of the chemicals used in it.

That’s completely unacceptable, which is why the report’s authors suggest limiting the use of chemicals with “unknown environmental profiles.”

Considering the fact that there’s the potential for contamination (of both food and water sources) linked to fracking, the suggestion isn’t much of a stretch.

The report also suggests the need for a stronger regulatory response to current practices. Even the researchers, for example, were surprised to learn that recycled wastewater from the oil fields is being used on crops.

State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has authored a bill, SB248, that requires a new inspections and data recording process for well operations. Last week, Pavley said she intends to amend her bill to include some of the report’s recommendations.

“The scientists are emphatic that state regulators must protect underground sources of drinkable water from being contaminated by fracking in shallow wells and other potentially unsafe practices,” Pavley said in a statement. We agree with that conclusion, and we urge the Legislature to take action to protect consumers and the environment.

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