Assembly Policy Committee Passes Job Killer

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed a job killer bill that could increase costs for California businesses, make them less competitive and discourage economic growth by adopting further greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2030 without regard to the impact on individuals, jobs and the economy.

SB 32 (Pavley; D-Agoura Hills) has been identified as a job killer by the California Chamber of Commerce because it seeks to mandate a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 without consideration of the economic side effects or ongoing oversight for the Legislature. Joining the CalChamber in opposing SB 32 is a coalition of employer associations and local chambers of commerce.

Unlimited Authority to ARB

SB 32 provides the California Air Resources Board (ARB) with unfettered authority in pursuit of a GHG reduction goal. This bill does not require an analysis of whether current regulations have exacerbated or prevented emissions or driven jobs to other states. Nor does it consider how California’s regulations have influenced other state or national governments to emulate our approach.

AB 32 has been in place now for nearly 10 years with little to no oversight or analysis.

Analysis Is Key

Although the CalChamber and coalition appreciate the need to address climate change, it is imperative that a cost benefit analysis be used to guide climate policies. The Legislature deserves a robust, meaningful analysis and to be informed before giving the ARB carte blanche authority to move forward.

Before any additional GHG emission reduction targets are set, there must be a credible and independent marginal cost analysis on the strategies adopted thus far in order to educate and guide GHG emission reductions after 2020. This will allow the Legislature to make educated decisions, provide appropriate guidance to regulatory agencies, and effectively oversee agency implementation to ensure that the costs and benefits of policy choices are realized.

Will Drive Up Housing Costs

SB 32 could create significant uncertainty for residential construction and all types of development by prematurely enacting increasingly speculative GHG reduction targets without first acknowledging the technological feasibility, the cost implications for housing, and the significant California Environmental Quality Act litigation risks that would be presented for development projects and plans adopted today.

Before extending GHG reduction mandates beyond 2020, the Legislature should independently evaluate the cost and benefit of the state’s current climate change programs to better understand what has and has not worked.

Key Vote

SB 32 passed the Assembly Natural Resources on June 27, 6-2.

Ayes:  C. Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Gomez (D-Los Angeles), McCarty (D-Sacramento), Stone (D-Scotts Valley), Williams (D-Carpinteria), Wood (D-Healdsburg).

Noes: Hadley (R-Torrance), Harper (R-Huntington Beach).

Absent, Abstaining or Not Voting:  Jones (R-Santee).

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee; no hearing date is set.