The Latest: California air-quality bill advances

AP News
Posted: Jul 13, 2017 6:40 PM
The Latest: California air-quality bill advances

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on negotiations to extend California's cap and trade program (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

California legislation to monitor and improve air quality around major polluters is moving closer to a vote in the full Senate.

The bill is advancing alongside a measure to extend California's landmark cap and trade law that seeks to reduce carbon emissions.

Democrats on the Senate Environmental Quality Committee advanced both measures Thursday in 5-2 party line votes.

The air quality measure requires local air quality management districts to monitor and report air quality data around the dirtiest sources of pollution. Some polluters will be required to upgrade equipment to newer, cleaner technology.

Air-quality districts say the bill would be expensive to implement.


2 p.m.

A California Senate committee has advanced a bill to extend the state's signature climate change law through 2030.

Democrats on the Environmental Quality Committee backed the legislation in a 5-2 party-line vote on Thursday, pushing it one step closer to a vote on the Senate floor.

The measure gives another 10 years of life to California's cap and trade program, which caps carbon emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release greenhouse gases.

Extending the program is a top priority for Gov. Jerry Brown, who is scrambling to line up votes from the required two-thirds of lawmakers.

Democratic lawmakers backed the legislation despite opposition from environmental justice organizations that have long been skeptical of cap and trade. They say the program allows oil refineries and other polluters to continue releasing greenhouse gases as long as they pay a fee.


11:30 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown says Californians will see significantly higher costs if lawmakers fail to approve his request to extend the state's cap and trade climate change.

Brown is offering an energized testimony to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, which is considering bills that would extend cap and trade and boost air-quality monitoring. Brown has made combating climate change a centerpiece of his agenda in California and on the world stage.

Brown is encouraging lawmakers to consider climate change "a threat to organized human existence" that must be tackled. His message to lawmakers: "This is the most important vote of your life."

Brown says the state is required by law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cap and trade is the cheapest way to do it.

The cap and trade program caps annual greenhouse gas emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release climate-changing gases.


10:30 a.m.

California Republican leaders say their party is opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to expand the state's cap and trade policy.

The GOP opposition announced Thursday complicates Brown's effort to advance one of his highest priorities. He'll almost certainly need Republican support to reach the two-thirds supermajority the legislation requires. A vote is slated for Monday.

Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes says none of his caucus members are currently supporting the legislation. He says Republicans want to see more tax cuts and regulatory relief.

Eleven of 13 Senate Republicans signed a letter saying they oppose extending cap and trade.

Brown's office did not immediately comment. Brown and Democratic leaders had agreed to extend a series of tax breaks and eliminate a controversial fire-prevention fee in a bid to win Republican support.


6 a.m.

A plan to extend California's signature climate initiative for another decade is scheduled to go before state legislative committees on Thursday.

The discussion comes as Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers struggle to line up support in the face of opposition from some environmental advocates.

In a sign of that difficulty, lawmakers indicated Wednesday that negotiations had expanded beyond climate change and air quality to include the state's lack of affordable housing.

Legislative leaders say they've scheduled votes in the Assembly and Senate for Monday, delaying a decision that had been expected to come Thursday evening.