CARB Sets Metro Greenhouse Targets

By Published On: August 13, 2010

Metropolitan planning organizations—particularly in the state’s four largest urban areas—would have to strive to cut greenhouse gases through better transportation and land-use blueprints under targets the California Air Resources Board is set to adopt September 23. “Improved planning means cleaner air in our cities, less time stuck in your car, and healthier, more sustainable communities,” stated Air Board chair Mary Nichols in releasing the goals August 9. The Air Board is required to set the targets under SB 375, a law enacted in 2008. The Air Board’s proposed objectives are based on goals the metropolitan planning organizations developed themselves. They set an 8 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for greater Los Angeles in 2020 and a 13 percent reduction goal by 2035. The goals for the San Francisco Bay area are 7 percent in 2020 and 15 percent in 2035. In San Diego the goals are 7 percent by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035 and in Sacramento 7 percent by 2020 and 16 percent by 2035. The Air Board also is calling on San Joaquin Valley to cut its emissions through better planning by 5 percent by 2020 and 10 percent by 2035. The Air Board outlined targets for other less populous regions of the state too. The targets can help the state achieve its overall goal of rolling back greenhouse emissions under its climate change law, AB 32, but the Air Board warned local governments need more money and incentives to achieve the goals. “State government needs to work with the regions to obtain the incentives and financial resources necessary to meet, and even exceed, the targets,” the Air Board noted. * * * * * The Yes on Proposition 23 campaign took in a $3 million contribution from Texas-based Valero Energy last week, according to a report filed with the California Secretary of State. The new money positions the campaign to launch a media offensive as the November election approaches. The proposition would suspend the state’s climate change law, AB 32, until California’s unemployment falls from over 12 percent today to 5.5 percent. “Valero supports Proposition 23 because California’s economy is in trouble, and this is the worst time to implement a measure like AB 32 that would cause steep price increases for consumers and threaten jobs,” said Bill Day, Valero spokesperson. The company operates two oil refineries that would be regulated under the law and 83 gas stations in the state. “We have known all along that Proposition 23 was a deceptive ballot measure,” said Tom Steyer, co-chair of the No on Proposition 23 campaign. “While Valero and Tesoro are making their greatest profits in years, the people of California are suffering due to the negligence and dirty business practices of these Texas oil companies.” He spoke at a press conference August 10 during which the no campaign unveiled a report showing that oil refineries the companies run in California are major sources of toxic air pollution. In a somewhat surprising move, the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce—which covers Silicon Valley and its budding constellation of green technology companies— endorsed Proposition 23 late last week. In an announcement, chamber president Steve Van Dorn said that AB 32—the law the proposition seeks to suspend—“won’t solve global warming, but it will significantly increase the cost of energy.” He stated this would put Santa Clara County businesses “at a significant disadvantage with states and countries that have less draconian global warming regulations.” * * * * * The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed two rules to ensure new or expanded power plants get permits that regulate their greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Air Act permits are part of the agency’s New Source Review Tailoring Rule, which launches in 2011. “Today’s rules will help ensure that these sources will be able to get those permits regardless of where they are located,” EPA stated August 12. The federal Clean Air Act requires states to develop EPA-approved permit implementation plans. Because of recent revisions to the EPA’s Tailoring Rule, some of the regional plans, such as for Sacramento, needed to be modified. “EPA will work closely and promptly with states to help them develop, submit, and approve necessary revisions to enable the affected states to issue air permits to GHG-emitting sources,” according to the agency. It hopes to finalize these rules before January 2, 2011.

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