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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 1, 2002
9:27 PM
CONTACT:  Bluewater Network
Russell Long, 415-544-0790, ext. 18;
Elisa Lynch, 415.544-0790, ext. 15
California Legislature Passes Groundbreaking Bill to Reduce Auto-Related Global Warming Pollution
Historic Bill Now Awaits Governor Davis's Signature
 
SACRAMENTO, 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 passenger vehicles.

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.

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