Republicans helped Jerry Brown cement California's big climate initiative

So, in a concession to the oil industry condemned by environmental groups, the bill approved Monday prevents local air regulators from setting rules on greenhouse gas emissions outside of the cap-and-trade program.

California's signature initiative to fight global warming will get another decade of life after lawmakers from both parties joined Gov.

In an unprecedented move at the Senate hearing on the measures last week Brown testified and then remained with the legislative leaders on a panel during the entire hearing, answering questions and offering encouragement to naysayers during the afternoon-long session in Sacramento.

The California Chamber of Commerce had filed a lawsuit, which ultimately failed, that challenged the original cap-and-trade vote as an illegal tax because it wasn't passed by a two-thirds majority, as is required for tax increases.

"Republicans and Democrats set aside their differences, came together and took courageous action", Brown said in a statement before holding a celebratory bipartisan news conference in the Capitol. "That's what good government looks like".


California's program is the only one of its kind in the US and has been considered an worldwide model for using financial pressure to prod industry to reduce emissions.

After the bill passed Monday night, Brown applauded Californians for standing against "the existential threat of our time" by extending the cap-and-trade program. In fact some progressive groups complained that the bipartisan negotiations had resulted in a monstrosity of a plan overly favorable to corporate interests. "Our farms, forests, wetlands, and open spaces are key priorities in reaching our shared climate goals".

One of the Assembly Republicans voting "yes", Devon Mathis, of Visalia, said he prayed with his pastor about it on Sunday as he agonized over how to vote on the extension of a program he called "the most politicized piece of legislation I have seen yet".

"For people like me ... we're pretty exhausted of partisan politics", said Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, speaking from a stage that he joked he rarely had the chance to stand on.

Despite holding a supermajority, Democrats had failed in previous attempts to pass new cap-and-trade legislation over opposition from more liberal members of the party who felt it did not go far enough and moderates concerned about the impact on business. Eight Republican lawmakers in the Assembly voted in favor of the bill, and three democrats voted against it.


So Brown sought to replace the law with one that had a stronger legal foothold, and that meant winning a two-thirds majority.

The deal does have broad support from groups on both sides of the aisle. Brown said in a statement. But a bitter backlash was brewing among conservative Republicans, with one publicly calling on Mayes to resign.

The governor late last week told legislators that if they don't back this program, he will embrace an alternative and more onerous approach: top-down regulation from CARB to mandate cutbacks in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Either way, the California GOP has a unique messaging problem for next year, having provided support for a multi-billion dollar carbon emissions tax.

The higher threshold could provide Republicans with an opportunity to undermine funding for the bullet train project, which counts on cap-and-trade revenue. He also acceded to a proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved, would require a statewide referendum in 2024 on how cap-and-trade money is spent - a vote sought by opponents of Brown's high-speed rail project, which now receive 25 percent of cap-and-trade proceeds. The more polluting that companies are collectively, the more credits are in demand, and the more costly it is to do business individually as a polluter.



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