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E2 Delegation in Sacramento


Pictured above is the E2 California delegation. Front row: Joshua Tucker (staff to Lowenthal), Peter Liu, Senator Alan Lowenthal, Bob Epstein, Nicole Lederer, Steve Silberstein. Top row: April Mo (NRDC), Bob Fisher, John Dawson, Anna Halpern-Lande, Lee Stein, Kristine Johnson, Victoria Rome (NRDC). Not in photo: Noelle Leca
On February 28 a delegation of E2 members met with members of Governor Schwarzenegger’s cabinet and members of the California Senate and Assembly. This was our fourth annual trip to the state capitol. Each year, we meet with leaders of the state to present our legislative priorities for the year and to increase awareness of E2 within the capitol. This year we focused on three issues:
  • Infrastructure bonds
  • Climate change
  • Funding for ocean restoration

Infrastructure Bonds

The Governor and legislature both had a variety of proposals for bonds to build schools, roads, levies, etc. in California. While E2 did not take a position on any individual proposal, we requested that any bond measure preserve three principles: protect the environment, incorporate fairness in funding, and provide consistency with climate policy. We described these principles in a letter that our delegation delivered in person to legislators and the Governor’s office. The Governor’s original proposal called for construction of new dams paid for by the general public. We argued that, historically, dams have been funded by the users of the water, and if the users were unwilling to pay the costs, the dam construction should be re-evaluated. In general, dam-stored water is the most expensive source of water - especially when compared to water efficiency and better management of natural aquifers.

We also advocated for smart growth funding, which was absent from the original bond proposals, in spite of the fact that the governor’s Climate Action Team has proposed significant reductions in global warming pollution by reducing car travel through smart growth measures.

Our principles were well received and eventually incorporated into revisions to the bond legislation. Ultimately, the legislature and governor failed to reach an agreement by the deadline for the June ballot. E2 expects an ongoing attempt to place the bond measure on the November ballot and if that happens, we will work to include our principles in the measure.

Climate Change

 
You know we’re being viewed as non-partisan when prominent Republican and Democrat leaders tell us about their hopes and concerns. The dialogues with Senators Maldonado and Blakeslee, and the Administration, were very interesting because they showed appreciation of our views and approach, and in some cases asked for our help bridging to the "environmentalists." - Peter Liu
Building on the economic rationale for the state setting greenhouse gas reduction targets as set forth in our article, Solving Global Warming One State at a Time, E2 sought to build support in each meeting in Sacramento for AB 32 (Pavley, D-Agoura Hills). AB 32 would establish a binding 25-percent reduction (versus business as usual) of the state’s global warming pollution (GWP) by 2020.

With ever-increasing globalization, urbanization and energy demand, it is inevitable that we must develop sources of low-carbon, renewable electricity and transportation fuels. By acting early, California can gain a leadership position and become a supplier of low-carbon energy and energy efficiency for the rest of the world. Our analysis presents four benefits:
  1. Reduced costs - Three independent economic analyses have shown that savings from energy efficiency will be significantly larger than the cost of purchasing more energy efficient appliances and buildings.
  2. More competition from renewable energy - AB 32 will increase demand for renewable energy and, especially in transportation fuels, will create competition and lower prices
  3. Health benefits - Energy efficiency and renewable energy will reduce existing air pollution.
  4. New Jobs - California’s market share in Cleantech startups will grow, providing more jobs and new industries for California.
To further reinforce the opportunities generated by policy that reduces global warming, E2 co-authored a report, California’s Cleantech Industry, looking at the flow of Cleantech venture funds into California. In 2005, nearly $500 million of venture capital was invested in 58 California Cleantech companies. A favorable policy environment was cited as a key component in companies’ decisions to locate in California.

Leading up to our trip, we worked with Senate Pro Tem Don Perata, who is strongly committed to AB 32. Speaker of the Assembly, Fabio Nuñez, recently became a co-author of the legislation. AB 32 is consistent with Governor Schwarzenegger’s Climate Action Team analysis, but at this point the Governor has not taken any position on the bill.

E2 will arrange follow-up meetings with nearly every legislator as the bill starts to move through the legislature. The bill needs to pass both houses and reach the governor by September.

During the campaign for AB 32, E2 will be active in Sacramento, and also in the press, representing business people in favor of addressing climate change. We successfully countered negative press from the California Chamber of Commerce in an article in the Los Angeles Times, "Governor, Chamber at Odds Over Emissions."

Funding for Ocean Restoration

 
E2 is working very hard to promote a non-partisan image which is essential in the country today. We have built a strong reputation in four short years. I will certainly be doing this again. - Bob Fisher
In 1999, California established a law authorizing the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) for the purpose of rebuilding California’s fisheries. An MPA provides an undisturbed habitat for fish populations to reproduce and grow. Experience in Florida has demonstrated that the increased fish populations spread beyond the boundaries of the MPA, improving the catch in the surrounding area and more than compensating for the restricted access to the MPA itself.

E2 was active in the placement of the first Californian MPA, around the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. The MPA has been in place for two years and preliminary results confirm that there is no negative economic impact.

The state is currently managing a multi-stakeholder process to select MPAs along California’s central coast, and a final decision is expected this year (see Chain of ocean reserves considered for state). Unfortunately, the state’s original proposed budget eliminated funding for completing the process. E2’s request was to reinstate at least the minimum required funding of $500,000 to continue the successful private/public partnership.

Almost every legislator agreed that the funding should be restored and, in fact, we believe the Governor’s office will reinstate the funding when the budget proposal is revised in May.

Meetings

E2 met with 9 officials in the administration, 9 senate offices and 13 assembly offices
Administration Members Members of the Senate Members of the Assembly
Deputy Director CalEPA Anne Baker Sheila Kuehl (D - Los Angeles) Sam Blakeslee (R - San Luis Obisbo)
Special Advisor David Crane Alan Lowenthal (D - Long Beach) Dave Jones (D-Sacramento)
Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy Michael Machado (D - Stockton) Betty Karnette (D - Long Beach)
Secretary CalEPA Alan Lloyd Abel Maldonado (R - Monterey) John Laird (D - Santa Cruz)
Special Advisor Bonnie Reiss Carole Migden* (D - San Francisco) Mark Leno (D - San Francisco)
Chairman California Air Resources Board Robert Sawyer Kevin Murray* (D - Culver City) Gene Mullin (D-South San Francisco)
Undersecretary Karen Scarborough (Natural Resources) Pro Tem Don Perata* (D - Oakland) Speaker Fabian Nuñez* (D - Los Angeles)
Legislative Aide Dan Skopec Joe Simitian (D - Palo Alto) Fran Pavley (D - Santa Monica)
Special Advisor Terry Tamminen Tom Torlakson (D - Concord) Nicole Parra (D - Hanford)
    Ira Ruskin (D - Los Altos)
    Keith Richman (R - Granada Hills)
    Simón Salinas (D - Salinas)
    Lois Wolk* (D - Davis)
* indicates meeting with staff    


Summary

 
When E2 first began missions to Sacramento a few years ago, our delegation was politely received with a skeptical attitude of "are these business guys really doing environmental work?" This year, our delegation was received warmly and graciously with the attitude of "happy to see you again - here is how we can achieve our goals together." - Lee Stein

Both Democrats and Republicans told us that if the state administration cannot get any recognition for good environmental policy, it will strengthen the voice of those advisors saying that environmental policies are not helping the governor politically and should be de-emphasized. - John Dawson


Our fourth annual delegation trip to Sacramento built on the awareness of E2 created from the previous three trips. Almost everyone told us that E2 is well known and respected within the capitol. Due to term limits of six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate, we need to build new relationships from scratch every year. We felt we achieved our objectives on our issues for the infrastructure bonds and oceans, and laid the foundation for our climate change work. Many thanks to the E2 members (pictured above) who gave up several days of their time to prepare for the trip, research the issues and attend the meetings.




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