Dan Logue (R)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-A business-backed measure to put California's landmark climate change law on hold until the state's beleaguered economy improves was rejected Monday by a legislative committee.
The state Assembly Natural Resources Committee, led by Democrats, rejected a call by state Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, to suspend a California law that calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions until the state unemployment rate has dropped below 5.5 percent for at least four consecutive quarters.
The proposal would have suspended provisions of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or Assembly Bill 32, signed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law set increasingly stringent caps on greenhouse gas emissions, leading to a 25 percent reduction by 2020.
As for reintroducing the measure, Logue spokeswoman Chandra Brown said, "That is always a possibility," noting that the bill could reemerge during a special legislative session or in a proposal introduced in the state Senate.
In a statement issued days before the committee hearing, Logue said now is not the time for more regulations on already-struggling California businesses.
"Economic reality is being completely disregarded, and AB 32 implementation is already having a devastating effect on California businesses and the state economy," he said. "Many in business see no way to comply with its draconian requirements and as a consequence are leaving California, taking valuable jobs with them."
AB 32 was signed into law when California's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. The state's unemployment rate is currently 12.3 percent and has been more than 5.5 percent since July 2007.
Employment Development Department figures indicate that since 1976, there have been just three periods when unemployment has remained below 5.5 percent for four or more quarters: January 1988 through December 1989, October 1999 through June 2001, and October 2005 through June 2007.
Logue's proposal to suspend the law was outlined in Assembly Bill 118. It was supported by the Southern California Contractors Association. Opposed were environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Planning and Conservation League and Sierra Club California.
From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at firstname.lastname@example.org.