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California Legislature Passes Significant Climate, Energy Bills

Amid a scorching and record breaking heatwave, California lawmakers approved most of Governor Gavin Newsom’s high-priority climate and energy legislation. Under the new legislation, the state will have to cut greenhouse gases at least 85 percent by 2045.

Legislation passed includes the following:

  • Approved a record $54 billion in climate spending.
  • Approved a measure to expand oil and gas drilling setbacks from vulnerable community zones.
  • Mandated that California stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2045. 
  • Voted to extend the life of Diablo Canyon, the state's last nuclear power plant, by five years, a controversial move for many environmentalists.
  • Established a regulatory framework to advance development of carbon capture and storage projects.

The extensive budget includes $6.1 billion for electric vehicles, $14.8 billion for transit, rail and port projects, over $8 billion to clean up and stabilize the electric grid, $2.7 billion to reduce wildfire risks, and $2.8 billion in water programs to address drought. 

September 30 is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before September 1 and in the Governor's possession on or after September 1.  Bills enacted on or before October 2 will generally take effect January 1, 2023 unless otherwise specified.

While lawmakers passed almost all of the Governor's priority bills, they did reject the following:

  • Tightening the state’s 2030 GHG-reduction target from 40 percent below 1990 levels to 55 percent. 
  • Requiring large companies to annually report greenhouse gas emissions from their entire supply chain. 
  • Requiring the California Air Resources Board to periodically consider changes to the rules governing its GHG cap-and-trade program, including whether and how to decrease the allowances and offsets that are available to regulated entities.

While the overall legislation is seen as a major victory for the Governor and many climate policy experts, some business groups criticized the policymaking drive as too rushed. 

Stay tuned as we follow the implementation of this important climate legislation for the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Under new legislation passed Wednesday, the state will have to cut greenhouse gases at least 85 percent by 2045 while offsetting any remaining emissions by planting more trees or using nascent technologies like direct air capture, which collects carbon dioxide after it has already been discharged into the atmosphere.

Tags

climate change, california, energy, oil and gas, carbon capture, legislation, envir, greenhouse gas, energy transition

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