More Cap and Trade Delays in California

The California Air Resources Board had good intentions when it developed a cap-and-trade plan to meet greenhouse gas standards, but according to a San Francisco Superior Court Judge, the Board made a few mistakes that will delay their efforts. The Air Resources Board is acting in response to AB32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which calls for the reduction of carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

They are being sued by a team of environmental groups, represented by the San Francisco’s Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, who disapprove of the Board’s inadequate analysis of alternatives to cap and trade. Not only that, but Judge Ernest Goldsmith found that the Board’s “analysis provides no evidence to support its chosen approach.” These issues are becoming commonplace in California these days, as they echo the criticisms of California’s High Speed Rail Authority’s quick decisions in building new rail lines.

The California Air Resources Board will not be able to move forward until it complies with the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970, which Governor Reagan enacted to make sure agencies in California both determined and prevented the environmental consequences of their projects. The environmental groups who raised this lawsuit, who would be disappointed if AB32 were to be delayed or abolished, want to assure that any environmental legislation would not hurt disadvantage communities in the state. Therefore, they are willing to wait for the Air Resources Board to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and explore the possibilities beyond cap-and-trade.

Acting too quickly without fully exploring all options has become a theme in California politics, mainly because the state is in such a rush to meet deadlines outlined in the legislation or that dictate the disbursement of federal funds. This haste to develop may ultimately hinder new projects since the public will be extra vigilant in making sure agencies find solutions that support their well-being.