Bill to Halt AB 32 Fizzles

By Published On: January 15, 2010

Legislation to stall the state’s global warming law, AB 32, failed to pass out of its first committee hearing. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee January 11 voted down AB 118 on a 6-3 vote along partisan lines. The debate focused on whether AB 32 was a job creator or job killer. “The bottom line is that this is not the time to experiment but a time to step away from the issue to allow our economy to heal,” the bill’s author, Assemblymember Dan Logue (R-Chico), said before AB 118’s defeat. Logue is also the lead author on a ballot initiative seeking the same aim as AB 118--arresting AB 32’s implementation until the unemployment rate drops dramatically. He told Circuit that he believes the measure will qualify for the November ballot this fall. The current jobless rate is 12.3 percent in California. Logue’s bill wouldn’t allow AB 32 to go into effect until the state’s unemployment level was 5.5 percent for a year (Circuit, Jan. 8, 2010). The measure would have an “extreme chilling effect on new jobs, jeopardize the supply chain and ruin all efforts associated with AB 32,” said Reed Addis, Conservation Strategy Group legislative director, representing CAL-START. “California is a first mover,” he added. Committee chair Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland) acknowledged the hardships faced by the unemployed, including those lined up in support of AB 118. But she noted that AB 32’s implementation to date is limited to upcoming reporting requirements for utilities and other large carbon emitters. Subsequently, the panel passed a committee bill, AB 1504, directing the Department of Forestry to report on whether its forest management practices comply with AB 32’s greenhouse gas reduction requirements. The forest inventory review, due in March 2012, is to be independently pier reviewed. “The assessment will help the state gather high quality information on its forestry inventory,” including the amount of carbon captured and held by trees, said Paul Mason, director, Pacific Forest Trust. “Forests can be part of our problem or a solution.” AB 1504 passed the committee 6-2. A resolution by Assemblymember Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) requires Congress to create a comprehensive plan to fund states to help them address climate change impacts, including adapting to an altered climate. The joint resolution, AJR 26, specifically aims to put California at the head of the line seeking federal funds expected to be available under a federal carbon cap-and-trade bill. The resolution passed 6-2.

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