AG Reaches Another Climate Change Settlement

By Published On: September 14, 2007

The California Attorney General settled a second greenhouse gas emissions dispute—this time with ConocoPhillips. Top cop Jerry Brown threatened to bring suit over the oil company’s plans to expand its refinery in Contra Costa County without attempting to mitigate for increased carbon dioxide emissions. However, the oil company agreed September 11 to offset emissions while waiting for the rules of AB 32, the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law, to take effect. “This agreement is a groundbreaking step in California’s battle to combat global warming and gives the state an early edge in meeting the greenhouse gas reduction goal of AB 32,” Brown stated. Brown sued and threatened suit against a number of cities and counties earlier this year for failing to assess the carbon impacts of their long-term land use or transportation plans under the California Environmental Quality Act. The attorney general’s suit against San Bernardino County for failing to evaluate the carbon impacts of its 25 year-long land use plan infuriated state Republicans. In response, a group of conservative lawmakers held up the state budget to try and force passage of a measure prohibiting Brown from suing to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Brown settled with the county—the largest county in the U.S. and one plagued by smog—August 21. The county agreed to a greenhouse gas reduction plan that identifies the sources of emissions and sets reduction targets for the county. In contrast, however, other cities and counties targeted by Brown jumped on the climate change bandwagon. “We have had the most positive and fastest response to California Environmental Quality Act claims that we have ever seen,” said Ken Alex, deputy attorney general. “Cities, counties and local government are very interested in finding ways to deal with global warming.”

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