- California lawmakers have acknowledged a setback on climate change legislation, and will remove proposals to slash petroleum use in cars and trucks in order to pass other goals.
- SB 350 would codify goals announced by California Gov. Jerry Brown to produce half of the state's electricity from renewable sources and to double building efficiency by 2030.
- At a press conference this week, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León said that even without the petroleum provisions, the measures included historic clean air standards and would fuel clean-energy job creation.
California is still on track to pass strong climate change legislation, but lawmakers and the governor this week said an aggressive campaign by the petroleum industry means goals to reduce the fuel used by automobiles would be left out of the bill package.
With a deadline to submit bills looming (the window closes Friday night), Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León said at a news conference that "we could not cut through the million-dollar smokescreen created by a single special-interest with a singular motive and a bottomless war chest."
Earlier this year Gov. Brown laid out new goals for California, including boosting building efficiency, bolstering renewables and reducing by half the petroleum burned on California roads. But while efficiency and renewables targets will remain, the petroleum sections will be removed from the bill.
"Big Oil might be on the right side of their shareholder reports, but we’re on the right side of history," de Leon said at a news conference. "And ultimately California is going to demand that an industry which represents most of the problem has an economic and moral duty to be part of the solution."
The industry launched an aggressive ad campaign which warned of gasoline rationing and limits on how far frequently drivers could use their cars. Without the petroleum provisions, SB 350 is expected to pass the Assembly, but another bill, SB 32, which would codify executive actions on greenhouse gas goals, still hangs in the balance.
De Leon is a clean-energy advocate who was one of the primary supporters of Prop 39, which closed corporate tax loopholes to help create clean energy jobs.