In our first ever state-wide Advocacy Roundtable, we connected members at four locations - San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, and Santa Monica - with members on the phone to discuss upcoming policy issues in CA. We heard from E2 and NRDC experts on four issues: AB 2197
, a bill to modernize an ineffective California flame retardant standard; SB 843, the Community-Based Renewable Energy Self-Generation Program
; the California Fuel Purchase Program
; and AB 32 Implementation and Auction Revenues.
Each location prioritized the issues differently, but the general consensus was for E2 to work on all four issues this year. In addition to the issues discussed at the Advocacy Roundtable, water issues continue to be a priority for California, and we will follow relevant policy items closely.Modernizing California’s flame retardant standard
Formally introduced on Friday, February 24, Assembly Bill 2197 (Mitchell) will modernize Technical Bulletin 117 or TB 117, an ineffective California flame retardant standard that has led to the use of chemicals in foam for furniture and other products throughout the country. Studies show that toxic fire retardant chemicals are now found in the bodies of nearly all North Americans, with Californians and children having the highest levels. AB 2197 is strongly supported by a large coalition of firefighters, scientists, businesses, consumers, and public health advocates. The bill will modernize TB 117 to maintain fire safety without the use of toxic chemicals. Current fire safety science and years of research by the federal government indicate that non-toxic alternatives are viable and safe.
TB 117 was developed in 1975 and has led furniture manufacturers to use toxic and untested chemicals in their products in order to meet the standard. With AB 2197 in place, CA-based furniture manufacturers will save money and be able to meet increasing customer demand for non-toxic alternatives. The bill also spurs innovation in eco-friendly furniture design, which has the potential to create more jobs in California.Community-Based Renewable Energy Self-Generation Program
E2 will continue to actively support SB 843, which expands the number of electricity customers that can participate in renewable energy self-generation programs to include renters, people living in multi-family units, small business, public entities, and people who lack sufficient credit or do not have an appropriate roof for roof-top solar. Electricity customers could subscribe to a renewable energy generation system such as a solar farm. Subscribers receive a credit on their monthly utility bill equal to their share of the power generated by the system. Electricity customers can move and have the benefit applied to their new location since there is no equipment required at the electricity customer’s site.
SB 843 has the potential to lower utility bills for consumers, create local construction jobs, and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power generation. By allowing local governments, schools, utilities and private developers to build off-site community renewable energy installations, SB 843 can dramatically increase the availability of renewable energy in California.California Fuel Purchase Program
As discussed during the policy roundtable, E2 is also working on a California Fuel Purchase program for advanced biofuels. The program would pool existing fuel demand by public entities and source some of this fuel from domestic, low carbon sources. The program targets renewable diesel and gasoline, which are perfect chemical substitutes for their fossil fuel counterparts. The goals of the program are to:
- Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the State’s transportation fuels
- Help the low carbon fuel industry scale production
- Provide more predictable fuel prices to public entities
- Create supply and demand for domestically produced fuel
E2 is working with the Energy Commission, Air Resources Board, and the Governor’s office on this initiative. We are also looking for cities, counties, and transit authorities to jointly participate. So far we have secured interest from a consortium of school districts, Cities of San Francisco & San Jose, Los Angeles County, and Alameda County.
Next, the E2 project team will be writing and issuing a Request for Information from a State agency to assess the prices and quantities of fuel procured. With this additional information, we will campaign to get as many public entities on board as possible to drive lower contract prices.
AB 32 Implementation and Auction Revenues
California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32, has generated intense scrutiny and litigation since its inception. We anticipate that AB 32 will continue to be challenged in 2012. E2 will continue to monitor any new developments and take action as needed. In addition, since the release of Governor Brown’s budget, there have been a lot of questions about how much revenue could be coming from auctioning emission allowances under California's cap and trade program. For more information on auction revenues, please read this blog by Kristin Eberhard, NRDC’s Legal Director, Western Energy and Climate Projects.
E2 will participate in auction revenue discussions guided by two overarching principles: to achieve AB 32’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target as cost-effectively as possible, and to strengthen California’s clean energy economy by creating new investment and jobs.
If you are interested in working on a specific advocacy issue or are interested in engaging in E2’s policy work more broadly through our E2 CA Policy Committee, please contact Christine Luong, E2 Manager, at Christine@e2.org.
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