I wrote this story for Sustainable Industries, where it first appeared.
The landslide defeat Tuesday of Proposition 23, the California ballot measure that would have suspended the state’s landmark global warming law, was not enough to stop Proposition 26, another initiative that could complicate efforts to launch a cap-and-trade market in the Golden State.
Prop 26, which like Prop 23 was backed by the oil industry, will reclassify some environmental fees as taxes that will require a two-thirds vote of the state Legislature to impose. Some environmentalists and green business owners fear that would hinder the implementation of California’s global warming law, known as AB 32.
But on Wednesday, a top California official said that since Prop 26 applies only to laws enacted after Jan. 1, it should not affect AB 32, which was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.
“We do not believe our efforts will be derailed as a result of Proposition 26 passing,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, the agency charged with implementing AB 32, said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “It’s full speed ahead.”
“There is a scoping plan already in the process of being implemented,” she said.
AB 32 requires California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Last Friday, the Air Resources Board released its proposed plan to create a cap-and-trade market that would impose emissions limits on some industrial sectors beginning in 2012.
Questions — and possible legal battles — remain, however, about how Prop 26 would affect any future fees imposed on polluters as a result of AB 32.
“Many, many programs will be affected,” said Annie Notthoff, California political director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, referring to Prop 26’s impact on other environmental efforts. “But the broad objectives of AB 32 are not affected at all.”
You can read the rest of the story here.