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California Won't Require 50 Percent Reduction In Oil Consumption After All

An ambitious energy-climate bill strongly backed by Gov. Jerry Brown was stripped of one of its three goals—to reduce oil consumption in half by 2030. The other two goals, increasing the renewable portfolio and increasing energy efficiency, remain.
September 12, 2015, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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It was a tough fight, but in the end, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), i.e., oil industry, waged a successful campaign to defeat the provision.

The announcement from Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León that he would pull the oil reduction goal from the "50-50-50" bill, as SB 350 was aptly called because of its three goals, "followed weeks of lobbying by oil companies and resistance not only from Republicans, but moderate Democrats in the Assembly," write David Siders and Jeremy B. White for The Sacramento Bee.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove explained that he believed the oil reduction provision would raise gas prices for his low-income constituents.

In an accompany video, an animated Gov. Jerry Brown downplays the defeat, calling it "one skirmish," but says the battle is far from lost. It's clear from the video that Brown is committed to fighting climate change, and he won't let this defeat stop him from making California a leader. He indicates that new low carbon rules from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will be issued next week.

"The only difference is my zeal has been intensified to a maximum degree, and nothing is going to stop the state from pushing forward," said Brown, quoted in KQED News.

WSPA "also sought amendments to the bill that would strip power from the CARB, but Brown wouldn't give in and opted to delete the petroleum reduction target from the measure instead," write Jessica Calefati and Tracy Seipel for the San Jose Mercury News.

The other two energy provisions in SB 350 remain—as posted earlier:

  • The amount of renewables in electricity generation, referred to as the Renewable Portfolio Standard, increases from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030 (in 15 years).
  • "Achieve a cumulative doubling of statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas final end uses of retail customers by January 1, 2030" (excerpted from legislation).

Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, author of the bill along with Sen. Mark Leno (D-S.F.), stated in his press release:

We raced for the Triple Crown but, with the clock ticking, the stakes are way too high to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the great.  And so we have together agreed to amend SB 350 to remove the petroleum section and move forward with the other two sections — which, by any standard, are in and of themselves landmark achievements. 

Click here to view the amended text of SB-350: Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 in Sacramento Bee
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