Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New draft of global warming rules needs tightening

We are pleased that ARB continues to move forward with implementing the enforceable cap on greenhouse gas emissions set by the Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, and is doing so through an open public process. The preliminary draft regulation, as expected, does not answer the most important question – whether polluters will have to pay for all their emissions – since the Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee has not yet finished its recommendations.

In addition to requiring polluters to pay for their emissions, the final regulation will need to tighten up several loopholes in the draft in order to successfully implement the Global Warming Solutions Act’s limit on greenhouse pollution:

· The draft allows polluters far too liberal use of offsets to buy their way out of reducing their emissions; almost half of all emission reductions could come from such offsets, which would undermine California’s efforts to green our economy and grow jobs in new clean technologies;

· The 3-year compliance period is too long – polluters should have to surrender their emissions permits every year;

· The final rules need to assure that emissions trading does not compromise air quality and environmental justice in communities most affected by industrial pollution;

· ARB should specify how it will enforce its rules swiftly and surely to prevent polluters from getting away with violations as a mere cost of doing business;

· In order to avoid exporting pollution and jobs to other states and countries, ARB should account for all emissions associated with cement imported into California, as it plans to do with electricity.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sierra Club Objects to the Governor’s signing of $11.1 billion Water Bond Boondoggle

SACRAMENTO– Today Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will sign a bill authorizing an $11.1 billion dollar water bond on the ballot in November 2010 for voter approval. The bond is part of a package of water bills passed by the Legislature last week.

While some are calling this a victory, the policy package passed this week is more form than substance. The water package does nothing to reduce water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or provide for reliable and resilient water resources needed to support a healthy California public, environment, and economy.

Sierra Club California Senior Advocate Jim Metropulos today released the following statement in response to Governor Schwarzenegger’s bill signing:

“Today’s action looks like more of the same from Governor Schwarzenegger,” said Sierra Club California Senior Advocate Jim Metropulos. “It’s sad in this day and age that we have to continue to discuss whether expensive, cumbersome dams and canals are the right solution for California’s water troubles. We don't need 19th-century solutions to today's problems.”

“If approved by the voters, the bond would obligate the state to spend over $800 million yearly in annual debt service. That is $800 million less for schools, social services and parks. It’s mind-boggling that the Legislature and the Governor would approve a pork-laden $11 billion general obligation bond as we are facing yet another General Fund shortfall.”

“Two parts of the plan concern me most: a proposed allocation of several billion in continuous appropriation for water storage, and the proposal to spend money on dams that benefit just a few special interests.”

“We can’t justify spending billions on dams that only benefit a few – especially in today’s fiscal climate. Water conservation, water recycling, stormwater recapture and cleaning up polluted groundwater represent faster and more cost-effective ways to fill our water needs”.

“We have a water crisis today. This proposed bond wastes $3 billion on projects that will take decades to build before producing a single drop of water.”

Today’s bill signing is being held at Friant Dam, outside of Fresno. Just last month, water was released below the dam for the first time in 60 years after two decades of ligation over restoring flows to the dry San Joaquin River.