Greenhouse Gas Emission Increases?
As part of the budget deal, a bill now on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk – AB 8 XX – would relax emissions control regulations for off-road diesel vehicles such as forklifts, backhoes and airport ground support.
The measure is categorized as an “economic stimulus” measure in legislative handouts on the budget. Its subject matter when looked up on the Senate or Assembly webpage is described as “State Government.”
The off-road regulations, approved in 2007, with compliance for larger fleets of vehicles to begin next year were fought by builders and their allies over two years of public hearings before the California Air Resources Board.
Like the budget itself, AB 8 XX was not the subject of any public hearings. The measure’s scaling back of emission controls was one of many concessions sought by Republicans in order for three of them in the Assembly and three in the Senate to vote for the budget.
Since there were no public hearings on the measure, it was easy for the GOP to side with the construction industry and ignore the majority of its members who want California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
A 2006 statewide by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 62 percent of Republicans strongly support state action to ratchet down greenhouse gas emissions. So do 73 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independent voters.
That same poll found that two-thirds of likely voters for rolling greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. That is the legislation that became AB 32.
Also, the poll also said there is “overwhelming support” – 88 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans – for the state law requiring automakers to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars. That would be what’s known as the Pavley bill.
Relaxing emission standards is certainly contrary to the goals of Gov. Schwarzenegger who has repeatedly called for sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and speedy implementation of AB 32. His support for cleaner air and green technology were key parts of his successful re-election campaign in 2006.
The governor is scheduled to sign the budget February 20.
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