The Senate Environmental Quality Committee turned back a bid by independent generators and business groups to prevent the air pollution control agency in greater Los Angeles from imposing fees on companies planning to repower old power plants that use boilers. \tThe bill\u2014SB 389 by Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood)\u2014would have prevented the South Coast Air Quality Management District from charging the companies for transferring from its own account air pollution control offset credits needed for the repowering projects under the federal Clean Air Act. It failed 4-5. \tA business group estimated that the fees as initially proposed could have amounted to $1 billion, although in its latest proposal the agency has scaled down the fees (Current, April 12, 2013). \tSen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) observed that while the power industry has discussed the need for the bill in relation to the outage of the San Onofre nuclear plant, \u201cthat isn\u2019t really what it\u2019s about.\u201d \tSen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said the proposed fees would not impact power supply this summer. He added that the Legislature could always reconsider Wright\u2019s bill next year if it appears the fees, once adopted, would negatively affect the power supply or the economy. He and other legislators observed that the air district is planning to study the socio-economic effects of the proposed levy and does not plan to adopt the fees until late this year. \tUnder the process used by the committee, Wright and supporters and opponents of the measure were not given an opportunity to comment since the panel was reconsidering SB 389 after previously turning it down. \tIn other action the committee acted on three bills aimed at fine-tuning the state\u2019s climate protection program under AB 32: * SB 497\u2014turned down after gaining only 4 yes votes, one shy of what was needed to pass, and one no vote\u2014would have exempted colleges and universities from the need to buy emissions rights in the state\u2019s carbon cap-and-trade program emissions rights auctions. The bill by Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) is to be reconsidered. * Two bills by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) passed, including SB 605 to require the California Air Resources Board to focus its plan for carrying out AB 32 to make sure emissions reductions occur largely in California. Also passing was SB 726 to make sure that WCI, Inc., which is helping administer the state\u2019s effort to operate a linked carbon market with the Canadian province of Quebec, is open to public scrutiny and oversight. SB 605 passed 5-2 and SB 726 passed 6-0. \tThe panel also passed a bill by Pavley, SB 4, to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to maximize oil and gas production in shale formations (Current, April 12, 2013). It passed 6-2.