Newsom signs environmental bills setting new goals and rules

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With solar panels above him and a charging station in the background, Governor Gavin Newsom discusses climate legislation he is about to sign on Mare Island in Vallejo on Friday, September 16, 2022 Newsom signed a set of laws that accelerate the climate goals of the most populous state in the country.

With solar panels above him and a charging station in the background, Governor Gavin Newsom discusses climate legislation he is about to sign on Mare Island in Vallejo on Friday, September 16, 2022 Newsom signed a set of laws that accelerate the climate goals of the most populous state in the country.

PA

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a sweeping package of environmental bills, touting them as California’s most aggressive effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The measures include proposals the governor urged lawmakers to pass in the final weeks of their legislative session. They set clean energy targets, buffer zones around new oil and gas wells, and require the state to develop regulations to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“There’s no other jurisdiction in the world, think about it, that does what the state of California does,” Newsom told a crowd of reporters and lawmakers in Vallejo. “It’s a question of rights, it’s not a question of ambition, it’s not a decree, it’s not a promotion, it’s a promise that we must now keep.”

State lawmakers who drafted the bills signed into law on Friday said their passage was the result of a years-long process.

“If we had talked about having this ceremony a year ago, I don’t think any of us in the legislature would have thought it was possible,” said Sen. John Laird, a Democrat from Santa. Cruz.

He and other lawmakers hailed Newsom’s late push.

“I am extremely grateful to the governor and his team,” said Sen. Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat from Long Beach. Adding that they “stayed by our side to make sure we saw those bills in time.”

A bill — committing the state to cut its emissions by at least 55 percent below 1990 levels — did not clear the legislature.

But those that did include: AB 1279, which requires California to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045; SB 1137, which establishes 3,200-foot “sanitary protection zones” between homes, hospitals, schools, and new oil and gas wells; SB 1020, which requires renewable and carbon-free sources to account for 90% of the state’s electricity by 2035, and SB 905 and AB 1757, which create regulations and targets to remove carbon dioxide from electricity. air and store it using technology and natural resources.

Touting the bills, Newsom said they would create jobs, save money and significantly reduce emissions in the future. He said the extreme weather conditions in California and around the world underscore the urgent need for action.

“If you don’t believe in science, you have to believe your own eyes,” he said.

Asked by a reporter about the state’s recent heat wave, Newsom took the opportunity to push back against criticism that California’s aggressive emissions-cutting campaign is making its power grid more vulnerable.

“Our transition is not the problem, the climate is the problem,” he said.

Earlier this month, Newsom signed legislation that could keep the state’s only nuclear power plant open until 2030, fearing that closing it five years earlier, as originally planned, would hamper California’s capacity. meet future energy demands.

Representatives of the oil and gas industry resumed their opposition to the bills on Friday.

“What will be ‘historic’ about the package of bills signed by the Governor today will be the enormous costs and impacts they will impose on California residents, our economy and our way of life,” said Western States President Catherine Reheis-Boyd. Petroleum Association, said in a statement.

“The governor’s actions are aimed at eliminating oil production and related jobs in California, making us dependent on other countries for our fuels, dictating how and when we can travel, and taxing the energy we use.”

Newsom and state lawmakers did not share those same concerns Friday. But even they were quick to temper their own enthusiasm.

“We’re not done, we still have more to do,” said Senator Anna Caballero, a Merced Democrat. “You will see us again next year.”

This story was originally published September 16, 2022 1:03 p.m.

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Stephen Hobbs is a political business reporter for The Sacramento Bee. He has worked for newspapers in Colorado, Florida and South Carolina.

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