E2’s 2007 delegation to Sacramento (from left to right): Tony Bernhardt, Chris Vargas, Nicole Lederer, Rick DeGolia, Kristine Johnson, Dave Edwards, Lee Stein, John Dawson, Bob Epstein, Ann Notthoff (NRDC staff), Dayna Bochco and Jon Slangerup. The welcome sign is real and came courtesy of Senate pro tem Perata’s Chief of Staff, Kip Lipper.
Eleven E2 members traveled to Sacramento on March 6th for our fourth annual trip. Divided into two groups, we met with members of the Schwarzenegger administration, 22 members of the State Assembly and 11 members of the State Senate. In total, this was more than a quarter of the legislature and our most ambitious trip to date.
Our trip this year focused on four main topics: (1) climate policies, (2) state bonds, (3) water policy and (4) air quality at California ports.
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006
(AB 32) was E2’s most significant accomplishment from 2006. This year, much of our work is focused on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a multi-year effort begins to define the rules for the global warming pollution reductions under AB 32 that go into effect on January 1, 2012. While implementation is making good progress, some tension exists about the role of market mechanisms. AB 32 authorizes CARB to consider market mechanisms (e.g. trading of emission allowances), but does not require them, and puts a burden of proof to show that market mechanisms do not have any adverse consequences before they’re put in to place. There have been concerns expressed that the Governor’s budget requests and executive orders regarding markets are moving faster than they should. E2 feels the actions have been appropriate and we used this trip to explain why we think so.
E2’s requests to the legislature were to:
|"Meeting with legislators and staff provides a fascinating insight into how environmental policy is formed in California. It is clear that E2 is building momentum as a well-respected group of knowledgeable business leaders who can both educate and influence policymakers." - Dave Edwards
- Fully fund the budget requests for climate work;
- Use a package of policy tools, including regulations in advance of the cap and then both regulatory and market-based approaches to meet the 2020 statewide emissions limit.
- Consider additional legislation that complements AB 32.
E2 is supporting a package of three bills this session that will advance the market for alternative transportation fuels and cleaner vehicles and assist with the goals of AB 32:
- California Clean Fuel Incentive Horton (R) - AB 1190 encourages the distribution and sales of alternative fuels that have significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than today’s gasoline and diesel fuels. The incentive reduces the sales tax on cleaner fuels - making them more affordable for the consumer and more profitable for the distributor of those fuels. AB 1190 will be heard in its first committee, Assembly Revenue and Tax, in May.
- Clean Car Discount for California Families Ruskin (D) - AB 493 would establish an innovative program to make cleaner cars and trucks more affordable. The program would provide a one-time rebate or one-time surcharge on the purchase of new vehicles based on each vehicle’s emissions of global warming pollution. AB 493 passed its first committee, Assembly Transportation, on March 27th. So it’s on its way.
- Clean Alternative Vehicles and Fuels Feuer (D) - AB 99 directs the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations requiring that 50 percent of new passenger vehicles and light duty trucks be capable of using alternative fuels by 2012. Example vehicles include hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric hybrid vehicles with a minimum of 20 miles all electric range, flexible fuel vehicles and other vehicles that can run on non-liquid petroleum fuels. Senator Kehoe has a similar bill, SB 494 in the Senate. AB 99 will be heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee and SB 494 will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee in April.
|"This was my first trip to Sacramento. I was surprised at how many bills the Legislators have to vote on. It underlined the importance of our trip - get them the information, answer their questions and highlight the bills that will advance AB 32 goals." - Dayna Bochco
California voters approved over $40 billion in new bonds last November. We asked legislators to make sure that the allocation of bond monies follow three principles:
- Environmental Protection: Bond funding should mitigate the impacts of expanded infrastructure on air and water quality and should continue programs that ensure safe drinking water and the protection of our coastal areas, parks, habitat and open spaces that attract key tourism dollars to California.
- Fairness in Financing: The incorporation of a "beneficiary pays" approach, such as a container fee at ports to advance clean technologies and reduce pollution and the incorporation of "volumetric" water fees, based on the amount of water used. Infrastructure projects should also demonstrate clear public benefits in order to utilize public funding for projects; particularly dams and surface storage, which have yet to show a favorable return.
- Consistency with Climate Change Policy: In order to meet California’s global warming emission reduction targets (down to 1990 levels by 2020), bond expenditures should enable smart growth development to reduce vehicle miles traveled and encourage the use of transit, walking and biking. Infrastructure investments must be consistent with the state’s climate goals and should be steered toward projects that discourage sprawl and reduce unnecessary driving.
Two major water projects have been proposed. One would build two new dams (SB 59) and the other (SB 27) would build a peripheral canal around the San Joaquin-Bay Delta. E2 recommended that the legislature maximize cost effectiveness and minimize energy intensiveness when considering water projects. As we discussed in our article: Water Policy and Climate Policy
, water uses 19 percent of the state’s electricity and 30 percent of the natural gas. We suggested many alternatives that could deliver water more cheaply than the proposed dams or canals and also reduce energy consumption at the same time. Subsequent to our trip, we submitted our opposition letter
to SB 59.
One of the most significant and growing sources of air pollution are California’s ports. In the Los Angeles area, ocean-going ships, harbor tugs and commercial boats, such as passenger ferries, emit many times more smog-forming pollutants than all power plants in the Southern California region combined (see Harboring Pollution
). The Port Investment Bill
(SB 974), authored by Senator Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), would provide a permanent source of funding, through a per-shipping-container fee, for air quality improvements at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland. Some legislators expressed concern about negative impacts of a fee, but recent studies
confirmed that the fee would not prevent an overall increase in port revenues and would make a significant difference in both modernizing the ports and reducing their air quality impacts. SB 974 will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on April 17, 2007.
E2 members Chris Vargas, Nicole Lederer, Lee Stein and Tony Bernhardt enjoy a lunchtime conversation with Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy (second from right).
The most immediate activity to address global warming is the work of the state agencies in implementing AB 32. These include the dual efforts of crafting a good regulatory framework through the California Air Resources Board and gaining an economic advantage for California through both more competitive energy costs and attracting Cleantech companies to California.
The Governor’s Cabinet Secretary Dan Dunmoyer stressed that the administration has made extensive use of the E2 Cleantech report
and he is interested in working with us as we build our network of Cleantech companies to document the potential for greenhouse gas reductions through cleaner technologies.
Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy stressed the importance of the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard
and the potential it holds to shift California’s fuel supply towards less-polluting alternative fuels. One of the foundations for the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard is the Alternative Fuels Bill, AB 1007
(Pavley), that E2 and NRDC sponsored.
In our six years of work in Sacramento, E2 has developed important relationships at every level of Government and many E2 members have played important roles in both legislative and administrative activities. We will continue to work with these offices in moving forward policy that addresses our environmental challenges in an economically beneficial way.
"This trip was different. In years past we started virtually every meeting in Sacramento introducing E2 and then our issues. This year, in virtually every meeting, we were welcomed, thanked for our support over the prior years, asked what we were focusing on this year and frequently asked to help with something of importance to the legislature. It was fantastic." - Lee Stein
|Members of the Assembly:
Tom Berryhill (R - Modesto) (staff)
Hector De La Torre (D - Downey)
Mark DeSaulnier (D - Martinez)
Mike Eng (D - El Monte)
Mike Feuer (D - Los Angeles)
Loni Hancock (D - Berkeley)
Shirley Horton (R - San Diego)
Jared Huffman (D - San Rafael)
Betty Karnette (D - Long Beach)
Paul Krekorian (D - Burbank)
John Laird (D - Santa Cruz)
Mark Leno (D - San Francisco) (staff)
Ted Lieu (D - Torrance)
Gene Mullin (D - San Mateo) (staff)
Speaker Fabian Núñez (D - Los Angeles) (staff)
Nicole Parra (D - Hanford)
Ira Ruskin (D - Redwood City)
Mary Salas (D - Chula Vista)
Lori Saldaña (D - San Diego)
Cameron Smyth (R - Santa Clarita)
Minority Leader Michael Villines (R - Clovis) (staff)
Lois Wolk (D - Davis)
|Members of the Senate:
|"In addition to advocacy on new legislation, E2 is playing a role of generating ideas and approaches for the implementation earlier of successful conservation legislation. The cumulative years of management and execution experience that E2 brings to these discussions offers a pragmatic and useful perspective and seems increasingly sought after by policy makers." - Kristine Johnson
"It’s fascinating seeing the difference year by year in how legislators react to environmental issues and concerns. Most obviously, the environment is both a lot hotter topic these days than it used to be, and also more bipartisan. It is due in part to a realization that there are actually more business arguments for good environmental policy, than business arguments against it, and this is something legislators are eager to talk about." - John Dawson
Dave Cogdill (R - Fresno) (staff)
Ellen Corbett (D - San Leandro) (staff)
Denise Moreno Ducheny (D - San Diego)
Christine Kehoe (D - San Diego)
Alan Lowenthal (D - Long Beach)
Jenny Oropeza (D - Long Beach)
Alex Padilla (D - Pacoima)
Mark Ridley-Thomas (D - Los Angeles) (staff)
Joe Simitian (D - Palo Alto)
Patricia Wiggins (D - Santa Rosa)
Leland Yee (D - San Francisco/San Mateo) (staff)
Dan Dunmoyer, Cabinet Secretary
Susan Kennedy, Chief of Staff