Union of Concerned Scientists Applauds Passage of California's AB 398 and AB 617

Published Jul 18, 2017

OAKLAND, CA (July 17, 2017)—Two critical climate and air pollution bills passed out of the California legislature tonight with a two-thirds super majority. The first bill, AB 398 (E. Garcia), extends California's landmark climate legislation that makes polluters pay for their emissions. The second bill, AB 617 (C. Garcia, E. Garcia, Santiago), enacts some of the strongest air quality protections in California’s history.

Below is a statement by Adrienne Alvord, California & Western States director at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Alvord served as lead staff for California State Senator Fran Pavley on the passage of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), the state’s 2006 landmark climate law.

“The vote to reauthorize California’s cap and trade program by a two-thirds margin proves that even in today’s polarized political environment it is possible to achieve bipartisan agreement on solutions to our climate crisis.

“Both bills included tough compromises for all. Democrats, Republicans, businesses, the faith community, labor and environmentalists worked together to extend California’s landmark cap and trade program and adopt a stronger air pollution law. Together the two bills will keep us moving towards cleaner energy and a healthier future.

“The policies in AB 398 and AB 617 include a cap on global warming polluters, a substantial cut on offsets, protection of billions of dollars for community and clean energy investments, and enhanced protection for programs that directly reduce air and global warming pollution like the Sustainable Freight Action Plan, Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Clean Cars plan. Without these measures California would be hard-pressed to stay on track to reduce global warming emissions by 2030. Additionally, Californians in the most affected communities can look forward to strongly enhanced monitoring, enforcement, penalties and retrofits of the polluting facilities covered under the cap and trade program.

“Together these measures will improve public health and increase investment in disadvantaged communities and innovative clean energy businesses. We look forward to strong implementation of these bills to ensure we achieve our 2030 climate goals and prioritize public health.

“We thank Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia and Assembly Member Cristina Garcia for championing these issues. At a time when federal climate leadership is absent, all eyes are on California to lead and demonstrate how the sixth largest economy in the world can innovate and cut global warming and toxic air pollution.”