Hours before final vote, lawmakers cut deal on climate legislation

Sep 10, 2015
By Jena Price

Only a few hours remain until California lawmakers cast their final votes, but legislative leaders just announced they're removing an important component from one of our top-priority climate change bills, SB 350. While retaining many critical proposals that make SB 350 an aggressive climate change bill of historic proportions, the bill was stripped of its promise to cut California’s petroleum usage by 50% in the next 15 years, thanks to Big Oil's influence.
Let me be absolutely clear: We fought against this change, and we're holding accountable every single lawmaker who failed to support the stronger version of this bill. But in these final hours of the year's legislative session, here's the most important fact that we all have to focus in on: Winning on SB 350 and SB 32 now would still result in bold new climate change laws with far-reaching impacts throughout California and around the world. Don't back down now: This is our last chance to score a historic victory for climate action! http://ecovote.org/TheFinalPush >>
Despite the last-minute change, SB 350 retains its strength as a top-priority climate change bill because it will increase California's renewable energy use to 50% by 2030 – and it will improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings by double over that same aggressive timeline. Meanwhile, passing SB 32 will ramp up California's clean air and carbon-cutting efforts to an unprecedented pace, improving the air we breathe by reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Together, SB 350 and SB 32 set a new high bar for the global climate movement, and not even big polluters like Chevron and Shell will be able to weasel out of their obligations to clean up the air we breathe.
Here’s how SB 350 author Kevin de León summed up where we are today: “SB 350 will still represent historic clean-air standards, fuel significant clean-energy job creation and extend California’s global leadership in the fight to meet the climate challenge.  And we are never going to take our foot off the gas in our efforts to address the impacts of petroleum, the leading cause of greenhouse emissions… Big Oil might be on the right side of their shareholder reports, but we’re on the right side of history.  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.”
A diverse coalition of thousands of businesses and associations, public health leaders, labor groups, environmental and equity organizations, consumers, faith leaders, public officials and California residents remains committed to the passage of important climate bills, and to keeping our state on the path to improved public health, a strong economy, and cleaner air. But our opposition is as fierce as they are wrong.
Big Oil is still polluting our airwaves with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to mislead lawmakers and the public and stop climate change action. And they’re not the only ones. This week, more of the usual anti-environment suspects – including the Chamber of Commerce, which publishes a list at the beginning of each year of the environmental bills they want to kill – held a press conference asking the legislature to wait until next year to address climate change. They’re trying to give lawmakers who want to stay on good terms with them, and with the oil industry, a pass. “Do this next year” is what they’re saying. But what they mean is “Do this... NEVER.”
The Chamber of Commerce and the oil industry are piling pressure on lawmakers to abandon climate change action and kill these two important bills, SB 32 and SB 350. We’ve got to stand up to them and fight back – and that means taking action one last time.




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