“Proposed Cap and Trade Extension a Good Compromise for the Sierra”
Truckee, Calif. – Sierra Business Council (SBC) is pleased to support the bipartisan approach to extend the California Cap and Trade program advanced by Governor Brown’s office and Assembly members Eduardo Garcia and Cristina Garcia today. SBC is incredibly grateful for the leadership and persistence of Governor Brown on this issue.
The legislative proposals, AB 398 (E. Garcia) & AB 617 (C. Garcia), should be strongly supported by Sierra residents, businesses and local governments.
There are a number of reasons why this deal is good for California, good for business, and good for the environment and our communities. Perhaps as important is the signal this legislation sends to our country and the globe: that while the nation is stalled on climate policy the states, and California as the world’s 6th largest economy, can move forward while maintaining strong economic growth.
The Governor’s proposal “Caps” and gradually decreases carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions for the next 13 years to reach targets that have already been set. The program creates a market-based mechanism, the “Trade,” that allows businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the most cost effective way and creates a statewide fund to support projects that further reduce emissions and provide economic, environmental, and public health co-benefits. By extending the program to 2030 and creating sideboards on the price of carbon, the program creates certainty for regulated entities and helps to stabilize carbon pricing as carbon costs gradually rise over time to cover the social cost of carbon’s impacts on our health, well being, and quality of life. The program also includes numerous measures that allow regulators to control costs, keeping them from increasing too quickly and negatively affecting consumers.
Notably, the program creates locally developed air quality monitoring plans, a new mechanism to monitor and reduce localized emissions of greenhouse gases, criteria air pollutants like particulate matter, and toxic emissions by the state’s largest emitters like refineries and power plants.
We are particularly pleased that extension of the Cap and Trade program has the potential to attracted considerable bi-partisan support in the legislature. It is incredibly important that climate solutions transcend partisan politics, and we should be proud that California is once again leading the way for the rest of the nation by demonstrating that bi-partisan support is possible. Let’s hope the rest of the country follows suit.
If the bills pass, the Sierra Nevada region will stand to benefit from improved access to more funding to pay for emission reduction and climate adaptation efforts like forest restoration, low carbon transportation, affordable housing and water savings measures. In addition, by achieving a 2/3 vote, the Governor’s measures would expand how the funding can be used, which would enable Sierra communities to propose a broader range of projects and compete more favorably for funding. Finally by allowing a small amount of carbon offsets for activities like forest restoration that can reduce emissions from wildfire and help trees store more carbon over time, and by requiring that half of those offsets be developed from projects within California, we create a private sector funding source for important projects in our region, which will create Sierra jobs and improve forest health and fire safety.
Some people will oppose this compromise because they don’t believe the climate is changing or, conversely, because they want to see stronger measures to immediately eliminate carbon emissions. We know that Governor Brown is going to take a lot of criticism. The oil and gas industry will likely complain that its emissions are now more heavily regulated, and the environmental justice community is going to argue that the changes in the law did not go far enough to reduce direct emissions at the source. However, SBC fought hard for this agreement because it achieves important local and statewide goals and is the best deal possible for the Sierra.
The reality is the responsibility of governance in a democracy is a tough business. Getting to YES often requires all parties to give up something they want in pursuit of a result that helps everyone. For instance, in another portion of the proposed legislation the State Responsibility Area fire fee that has been highly controversial in the Sierra Nevada is replaced by Cap and Trade Funds. This should have the net effect of improving fire safety in the region while controlling costs for Sierra residents.
Progress is made incrementally through compromise; it may not happen as quickly as we would like, but continuous improvement has value. We are with Governor Brown on this one. Keep making progress every day and eventually we get there.
Sierra Business Council has put considerable effort into advocating for sound policy at the state and federal level around climate, water, forest management, broadband deployment and business development for the Sierra.
Extending the Cap and Trade program was one of Sierra Business Council’s single most important policy initiatives this year, and we worked very hard to be part of developing the strategy to extend the program through partnerships with business organizations, environmental organizations, and community groups across the state.
We will continue fighting for the best deal possible for our region, our communities, our environment, our economy and our people. But we need you to help.
Today we are asking for your assistance in calling your legislators, telling them that you support AB 398 & AB 617, and asking them to vote YES to extending the Cap and Trade program as the best mechanism for reducing GHG emissions and achieving other important statewide goals.
Here is the contact info for the Sierra legislators:
Assembly member Brian Dahle: (916) 319-2001
Assembly member Frank Bigelow: (916) 319-2005
Assembly member Kevin Kiley: (916) 319-2006
Assembly member Ken Cooley: (916) 319-2008
Assembly member Jim Patterson: (916) 319-2023
Assembly member Devon Mathis: (916) 319-2026
Senator Ted Gaines: (916) 651-4001
Senator Tom Berryhill: (916) 651-4015
Senator Jean Fuller: (916) 651-4016
Senator Jim Nielson: (916) 651-4004
Senator Andy Vidak: (916) 651-4014
Senator Anthony Cannella: (916) 651-4012
While you’re at it you might want to call the Governor at:
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160