Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fwd: The Central Valley: where oil and water mix

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kate Gordon <>
Date: Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 2:52 PM
Subject: The Central Valley: where oil and water mix

This week California is focused on our two most valuable liquids – fuel and water – and the Central Valley is ground zero.
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The Central Valley: where oil and water mix

It's August, and the California legislative session is winding down to its August 31 finale. Just as Sacramento heats up (literally and otherwise), I'm off on vacation! I will be taking a break from Cliffnotes for the next two weeks, which means today will be a lightning round of notes.
This week California is focused on our two most valuable liquids – fuel and water. The Central Valley is ground zero for the battles over both these commodities, which is why it's no surprise Fresno's Assemblymember Henry Perea is playing a key role. Here's what's happening:


Asm. Perea's AB 69, which would delay the January 1 deadline for transportation fuels to come under the state's carbon trading program, is winding its way menacingly through Senate committees – cheered on by a slew of oil industry front groups. I've made my own opposition to this bill clear in past posts, but I'm by no means alone: The California Labor Federation, the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and Bay Area Rapid Transit argue that the bill would deprive the state of funds that promise to provide tens of thousands of jobs in building and operating low-carbon infrastructure. Dozens of environmental, health, and cleantech groups have also registered their opposition.
The Sac Bee's Dan Walters predicts the legislature will likely park the bill in committee without an up or down vote this year, meaning that the January 1 deadline will arrive and companies will start doing what they've already been planning since AB32 passed back in 2006: cleaning up their fuels and turning toward lower-carbon solutions. Seems like a good outcome to me, so long as it's coupled with programs that specifically work to provide low-income drivers with better, more efficient vehicle and transit options – like those proposed in Sen. De Leon's Charge Ahead California legislation, which aims to put a million zero- or near-zero emission vehicles on the road by 2023.


California's drought conditions crossed a grim threshold late last month, with over half of the state now experiencing "exceptional" drought conditions, the most severe rating on the U.S. Drought Monitor's scale (the past seven months have also been California's warmest on record – not, perhaps, a coincidence). Last week, after attempting (but failing) to adequately cut water consumption through voluntary conservation measures, the State Water Resources Control Board implemented mandatory restrictions enforced by steep fines.
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