CA Democrats scale back emissions bill

MIAMI - JULY 11:  Exhaust flows out of the tailpipe of a vehicle at , "Mufflers 4 Less", July 11, 2007 in Miami, Florida. Florida Governor Charlie Crist plans on adopting California's tough car-pollution standards for reducing greenhouse gases under executive orders he plans to sign Friday in Miami.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In a remarkable reversal, California Democrats have dropped a main provision in landmark legislation ratcheting up emissions regulations. As Republicans cheered, liberals nationwide decried the turnabout, with Golden State environmentalists blaming a sizable campaign against the bills launched by a nervous oil industry.

Fueling fears

Petroleum interests were able to use Democrats’ dramatic objectives to raise an effective alarm in one of the most reliably anti-carbon states in the union. “The oil industry has poured money into a campaign against SB350, calling the legislation the ‘California Gas Restriction Act of 2015’ and warning that it could lead to bans on SUVs,” as ThinkProgress noted; according to the original terms of the bill, passed by the state Senate, California would be committed to a 50 percent reduction in gasoline use in both cars and trucks. In the new bill, expected to clear the Assembly, that provision has been removed.

Substantial curbs on emissions remained, however. “The amended bill still aims to curb carbon emissions from two other sectors of the energy industry,” the Wall Street Journal observed. “Using 2016 levels as the starting point, the legislation would require the state’s utilities to get half their power from renewable sources and all buildings in the state to increase their energy efficiency by 50 percent.”

Nevertheless, the more modest version of SB350 marked the second of two big disappointments for environmentalist policy advocates in California and around the country. As the Journal added, SB32, which would slash state emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels before 2050, also passed a vote in the Senate only to run aground in the Assembly.

Sharp rhetoric

Supporters of SB350, including Senate Leader Kevin de Leon, were adamant that industry scaremongering scuttled the 50 percent petroleum cut. Remarking on the bill’s modification, the New York Times reported, he said, “Big Oil might be on the right side of their shareholder reports, but we’re on the right side of history.”

Activists sharpened the message on their own terms. “Kathryn Phillips, who runs the Sierra Club’s California chapter, went even further, saying that the oil industry was waging ‘war on humanity’ by blocking efforts to reduce heat-emissions as much as scientists say is necessary to avert catastrophe,” MSNBC noted. Phillips, the network added, described the industry as “ruthless” and “determined to tell every lie they can and to scare people to death just so they can keep as much market share as possible.”

But a different, more practical factor weighed heavily on the minds of skittish Democrats. “The decision on how to carry out the proposed cuts would have been left to the state’s Air Resources Board, a matter of strong concern to many lawmakers,” according to the Times. If the board made decisions adversely impacting constituents, many of whom have already been struggling economically, the consequences could be dire. What’s more, angry voters would have little way to respond but at the ballot box.

An uncertain future

For now, however, anger was concentrated among climate activists convinced that the world’s fortunes depend in outsized measure on California’s ability to demonstrate a path forward on strict emissions reductions. “If they can’t succeed in their ambitions,” MSNBC suggested of Sacramento’s liberals, “it raises serious questions about the fate of a hoped for global climate agreement this December in Paris.”

Their dismay was compounded by the outright defeat of this year’s other embattled emissions bill, SB32, introduced by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills. “Pavley tried to overcome opposition to her measure by changing it to provide more legislative oversight of the state’s powerful Air Resources Board,” the Los Angeles Times noted. But skeptics were unmoved, the Times reported. Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office pulled its support out of concerns that it had become toothless, leaving Pavley to promise she would reintroduce the bill next year.


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  1. spurwing Plover
    spurwing Plover 12 September, 2015, 07:28

    Califorrnia dont need any more rediculous curbs on emissionswhats realy needed is way to put Moonbeams and the Envorimentalists wackos Hot Air to good use

    Reply this comment
  2. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 12 September, 2015, 09:27

    It’s not the oil industry against the activists; it’s the emission crusaders against the economy!

    The “emissions crusade” that started in 2006 when AB32 the Global Warming Initiative was signed into law was at a time that California was contributing a miniscule 1% to the Worlds Green House Gasses. Over the last decade the government has collected billions of dollars as a result of over regulations, cap and trade fees, etc., for the government and dramatically increased the costs for energy and products to all 38 million that live in California.

    Now, SB-350 the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, when signed into law will further reduce that 1% by 80%, down to 0.2% which will further increase the costs for energy and products for all Californians.

    Reply this comment
  3. bob
    bob 12 September, 2015, 10:35

    The only emissions we need to curb are the ones blowing out the pie holes and back ends of the DemoNRats.

    Reply this comment
  4. bob
    bob 12 September, 2015, 10:37

    What’s more, angry voters would have little way to respond but at the ballot box.

    The DemoNRat polls have nothing to worry about.

    The voters of this state are idiots and sheep and will do whatever their government masters demand.

    Reply this comment
  5. bob
    bob 12 September, 2015, 11:15

    Hey, Colliefornians….gas is 1.81 in St. Louis.

    Why are you paying over a dollar more a gallon than people in St. Louis?

    Because you are suckers for DemoNRats…You will never see sub $2 a gallon gas in Colliefornia and you can thank the DemoNRats for that.

    Reply this comment
  6. Art
    Art 12 September, 2015, 11:52

    Putting the blame on oil interests? If they hadn’t lobbied it will end up the same way.

    Reply this comment
  7. Dude
    Dude 12 September, 2015, 12:30

    “……the oil industry was waging ‘war on humanity’ by blocking efforts to reduce heat-emissions as much as scientists say is necessary to avert catastrophe,”

    The government and the eco-Nazis of the Sierra club refuse to acknowledge the fact that Californian citizens are the ones that told them to go pound sand.

    Reply this comment
  8. spurwing Plover
    spurwing Plover 13 September, 2015, 07:48

    Now isnt this so interesting usialy the media scumballs and the eco-freaks blame the Rebpulicans for wanting to oppose redicuoius enviromental regulation but its the demacrats who oppose it Too bad liberal wanks too bad

    Reply this comment
  9. desmomd
    desmomd 13 September, 2015, 12:23

    The governor’s message to kindergarteners: It is never going rain again and you are all going to die. You little bastards, listen to me.
    ;:[email protected]
    Jerry is the Senior citizen from hell.

    Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 14 September, 2015, 13:00

      Yeah, it was hilarious to watch his news conference after his agenda got mostly rolled. He was furious. Almost foaming at the mouth mad attacking the oil industry, climate deniers, repubs and anyone standing in his way.
      The man is desperate to find a legacy after four terms of wreaking havoc on the state by raising taxes to confiscatory levels, destroying the economy through over regulation, driving out jobs and industry, agriculture and ruining the infrastructure like highways and water storage. And now he is the leader of the D-Rat party out to destroy the middle and lower classes, suburban and rural folks by driving up their costs for housing, energy, food, taxes and the basics in their quest to control the ‘untermenschen’. It is all part of his and his green benefactors plan to corral the cadre into stack and pack housing in the urban ghettos with dangerous, crime ridden filthy urban rail as their means of transportation so Gaia can heal.
      But can it be the sheeple are finally waking up to what the Greens (which virtually own the D party) are up to? Wow…that would be amazing.
      But is was fun watching the Green Hornet come totally unhinged. At one point he blamed the refugee crisis in Europe on climate change. I mean you can’t get nuttier than that.

      Reply this comment
      • Queeg
        Queeg 14 September, 2015, 13:22

        Comrade Ricko

        Commissar Jerry is slated for combined Interior, Commerce, Epa and Energy oversight in Berni’s administration.

        Suck it up Bro……being a denier is not an option.

        Reply this comment

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