PUBLIC WORKS News Service — Furthering his commitment to protecting the environment and the economy, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he has signed legislation that will reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of new jobs in the state. "California is a leader in fighting global warming and protecting our environment," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "And, we are showing the rest of the nation and the world that you can protect the environment and the economy at the same time. That is why I am signing this package of bills — so local economies will benefit from the creation of thousands of new jobs while we continue to lay the groundwork for California to meet our renewable energy and environmental goals."
The Governor signed the following bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in California:
- AB 758 authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and create jobs throughout the state in green construction. Specifically, it requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to establish a regulatory proceeding to develop and implement a comprehensive energy efficiency program for existing residential and nonresidential buildings that will reduce their emissions.
- SB 104 by Senator Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions in California by directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to regulate nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and possibly other gases found to be at least as harmful as carbon dioxide. A 2008 study by the University of California, Irvine concluded NF3 has a global-warming potential 17,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. The study also indicated that NF3 persists in the atmosphere for centuries.
- AB 881 by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) creating the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Agency to assist local agencies in Sonoma County to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. The pilot program will allow the Sonoma County Transportation Agency to coordinate with other local public agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the county by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015.
- SB 827 by Senator Roderick D. Wright (D-Inglewood) that, according to the author, will create 60,000 jobs and $4 billion in economic activity in Southern California by modifying a court ordered moratorium on issuing air credits that has halted thousands of projects in the Southern California region.
- AB 1318 by Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella) that enables the construction of an ultra-clean burning, natural-gas power plant to complement the production of renewable energy at a 600 megawatt wind energy farm in Riverside County. According to the author of this bill, revenue estimates and economic benefits of this facility alone include $900 million in new investment, the creation of 350 jobs and more revenues for the state.
The Governor also signed AB 920 by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) that will allow electric utility customers who install solar or wind generators on their property to be paid by their electric utility for all the surplus electricity they produce.
Additionally, Governor Schwarzenegger announced he signed two bills that will help improve water quality throughout the state:
- SB 757 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) to prohibit the sale and installation of lead wheel weights in California. Lead weights have long been used to balance vehicle wheels, but research over the last decade has shown that lead wheel weights falling off cars and trucks are a major, unregulated source of lead pollution in drinking water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 2,000 tons of these weights fall from vehicles every year and into roadways. The European Union already bans the use of these weights.
- AB 1366 by Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) will improve water quality by addressing the problem of excess salinity caused by residential water softeners. The bill gives greater discretion to local water agencies where surface and groundwater supplies are particularly susceptible to salt contamination with additional authority to manage these salt discharges. The bill applies to the South Coast, Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, Tulare Lake and the lower half of the Sacramento Valley hydrologic regions.
Under Governor Schwarzenegger's leadership, California has long been a leader in establishing laws and policies to fight global warming, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy. Just last month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed an executive order directing CARB to adopt regulations increasing California's Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33 percent by 2020 — a goal that was first established by the Governor's directive last year. The order will ensure California will have the flexibility needed to use renewable energy sources for 33 percent of our energy consumption by 2020 and places the highest priority on renewable resources that will provide the greatest environmental benefits that can be developed quickly and support reliable, efficient and cost-effective electricity system operations including resources and facilities located throughout the Western Interconnection.
California's leadership in pushing to fight global warming and increase renewable energy will help boost our economy. According to an economic study by the University of California at Berkeley and Next 10, California's policies will create as many as 403,000 jobs in the next 12 years and household incomes will increase by $48 billion.
Other accomplishments cementing California as a great leader on protecting the environment include:
- In 2006, the Governor signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, California's landmark bill that established a first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable and cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The law will reduce carbon emissions in California to 1990 levels by the year 2020. AB 32 requires CARB to develop regulations and market mechanisms that will ultimately reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Mandatory caps will begin in 2012 for significant sources and ratchet down to meet the 2020 goals. The Governor has also called for the state to reduce carbon emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.
- In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger furthered his historic leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower California's reliance on foreign oil by signing Executive Order S-01-07 that established the world's first Low Carbon Fuel Standard for transportation fuels sold in California. The standard will reduce carbon content in all passenger vehicle fuels sold in California by at least 10 percent by 2020 and more thereafter.
- In 2008, the Governor announced the adoption of the country's first statewide Green Building Standards Code by the California Building Standards Commission that went into effect on August 1, 2009. It is currently a voluntary standard and will become mandatory in the 2010 code. The International Code Council announced last month it is developing a new code for commercial buildings entitled the International Green Construction Code, and will use the current California Green Building Standards Code as a key reference document.
- In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1451, AB 2466 and AB 2267 to build on California's commitment to increase renewable energy use. AB 1451 builds on the state's solar power usage by continuing a property tax exclusion for projects that utilize solar panel energy and expanding the exclusion to builder-installed solar energy systems in new homes. AB 2267 builds on the state's green economy by requiring the California Public Utilities Commission to grant incentives to eligible California-technology manufacturers. This bill also requires the CEC to give priority to California-based companies when granting awards and will not only create jobs for hardworking Californians but will attract more clean-tech and green-tech companies to the state. AB 2466 will increase energy efficiency and help protect the environment by authorizing local governments to receive a utility bill credit for surplus renewable electricity generated at one site against the electricity consumption at other sites.
- In 2006, the Governor announced his Million Solar Roofs Plan to provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gas emissions by three million tons, equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. Now known as the California Solar Initiative, the $3.3 billion incentive plan for homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems will lead to one million solar roofs in California by 2017.
- The Governor announced as a component of the California Solar Initiative in 2007, the New Solar Homes Partnership (NHSP) aimed to help create a self-sustaining market for solar homes and gain builder commitment to install solar energy systems. A new home that qualifies for the NSHP is at least 15 percent more efficient than the current building standards.