CA - July 1 - Today, by a 41 to 30 vote, the California Legislature passed the
first bill in U.S. history to regulate global warming pollution from cars and
light-duty trucks. Assembly Bill 1493 would make California a national leader
in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of global warming.
AB 1493 is the successor bill to AB 1058, a global warming bill championed
by author Fran Pavley during the last two years. The new legislation includes
language that addresses public fears stirred up by an auto industry disinformation
campaign. The bill now explicitly prohibits new taxes on vehicles, fuels or miles-traveled,
speed limit reductions, or mandatory reductions in vehicle weights. In addition,
it calls for an immediate policy hearing on the greenhouse gas emissions standard
subsequent to the development of the regulations by the California Air Resources
Board. Like AB 1058, AB 1493 instructs the California Air Resources Board to develop
the maximum technologically feasible, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse
gases by January 2005. Auto manufacturers are still given the maximum flexibility
to decide how to achieve these standards, and consumers' pocketbooks are still
protected, as the regulation must be economical to the owners and operators of
Passage of AB 1493 in the California Assembly comes on the heals of several
new studies on global warming including one by the Environmental Protection Agency
for the United Nations, as well as Bluewater Network's Scorched Earth: Global
Climate Change Impacts on Public Lands and Waters. The latter chronicles how global
warming is the leading threat to America's most treasured public lands, including
Yosemite National Park and Tahoe National Forest.
"This vote sends a clear message to Washington that California refuses
to sacrifice our children's future on an altar to oil industry profits. There's
nothing sacred about burning more fossil fuels," said Russell Long, Executive
Director of Bluewater Network, the bill's original sponsor.
Long concluded, "We're proud of California lawmakers who faced down the
Chicken Littles in the auto and oil industries, and did the right thing for our
environment and economy. Cleaner vehicle technologies have been available for
years. Establishing greenhouse gas standards will finally get these technologies
off the shelves and into our cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks, giving motorists
more and better choices."
In California, transportation is responsible for 59 percent of the greenhouse
gas pollution, compared to 31 percent for the nation as a whole. If unchecked,
global warming is expected to have devastating effects on California's environment
and economy, including seriously reduced water availability, increased air pollution,
more catastrophic wildfires, and dangerous beach erosion.
The bill now awaits Governor Davis's signature. If AB 1493 is signed into
law, California will become a national leader in reducing global warming pollution.
Other states will be able to adopt California's air quality regulations according
to a provision in the Clean Air Act.
Bluewater Network is a national organization aggressively confronting the
root causes of climate change and fighting environmental damage from the shipping,
oil, and motorized recreation industries. Your support is critical to the success
of our activities. For more information, visit our website, www.bluewaternetwork.org.