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California State Leaders File Legislation to Extend Cap-and-Trade Program
Three California state leaders -- Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, filed legislation July 10 to extend the state's cap-and-trade program and launch a landmark program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level. "The Legislature is taking action to curb climate change and protect vulnerable communities from industrial poisons," said Brown.
"These measures represent California's leadership on climate and air quality. Extending California's cap-and-trade program will protect consumers and businesses alike from high energy costs while reducing the greenhouse gases and air pollutants choking our communities throughout the state," said de León.
The legislation creates a statewide program to address air pollution in neighborhoods with the dirtiest air and mandates that large industrial facilities, including oil refineries, in California's most polluted communities upgrade their old equipment with cleaner, more modern technology by December 2023. The legislation also increases penalties against polluters that the state Legislature has not been able to increase in more than 35 years, according to Brown.
The cap-and-trade program will expire without legislative action; along with other state carbon reduction measures, it ensures California will meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The legislation would extend the program by 10 years and make these improvements, based on years of operation, analysis, and input:
- Ensures that carbon pollution will decrease as the program's emissions cap declines
- Cuts the use of out-of-state carbon offsets and brings those environmental benefits back to California
- Designates the California Air Resources Board as the statewide regulatory body responsible for ensuring that California meets its statewide carbon pollution reduction targets but retains local air districts' responsibility and authority to curb toxic air contaminants and criteria pollutants from local sources that severely impact public health
- Decreases free carbon allowances more than 40 percent by 2030.
- Prioritizes cap-and-trade spending to ensure funds go where they are needed most, including reducing diesel emissions in the most affected communities.
"Once again, we are showing that in California, protecting the environment and improving public health are inextricably linked. With its strong air quality provisions, this agreement ensures that Californians in underserved communities—and communities most impacted by air pollution—will receive the greatest benefit. All communities deserve clean air, benefits from strong climate actions, and a strong green economy. This package does just that," said Rendon.
Extending cap-and-trade also ensures that billions of dollars in auction proceeds continue flowing to communities across California. Examples of the $1.2 billion in investments so far include electric transit buses and charging stations in the San Joaquin Valley, more water efficiency technology on farms, an electric vehicle car-sharing program for disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles, all-electric buses in the Antelope Valley, new train cars for BART, habitat restoration following the King Fire and 44 affordable housing units and a vanpool program in Dinuba.