For Immediate Release, July 25, 2007
Brian Nowicki, (520) 449-3898
Kassie Siegel, (760) 366-2232 x.302 or (951) 961-7972
Republican Minority Attacks California’s Leading Environmental Law;
Groups Call on Governor to Defend State Efforts to Fight Global Warming
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Senate Republicans are holding state spending hostage as they continue their all-out attack on California’s leading environmental protection statute. This afternoon Senator Dick Ackerman presented a list of last-minute Republican demands featuring proposed language that would eviscerate the California Environmental Quality Act.
“It is unconscionable that Republicans are holding education and health care spending hostage in an attempt to roll back California’s solutions to global warming,” said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We call on Governor Schwarzenegger to persuade the Republican minority to permanently drop this outrageous demand.”
The proposed language would allow oil companies, developers, and others to gain state approval for massive new sources of greenhouse gas emissions without complying with the California Environmental Quality Act. The Act is the state’s premier land-use planning and environmental statute, requiring state and local agencies to assess and reduce new projects’ significant environmental impacts. It has a proven track record and is a crucial tool for protecting against global warming; greenhouse gas emissions are among the most important of the environmental impacts it addresses.
The Republican amendment would prohibit enforcement of the Act with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, including enforcement by the California Attorney General, until 2012. The amendment would also roll back protections granted by the legislature and governor last year in the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, Nunez), which stipulated “Nothing in this division shall limit the existing authority of a state entity to adopt and implement greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures. Nothing in this division shall relieve any state entity of its legal obligations to comply with existing law or regulation.” (Cal. Health and Safety Code § 38598.)
Greenhouse gas reduction choices we make today will determine our state’s future and mean the difference between life and death for many Californians. “Business as usual” emissions, which we will be unable to avoid if the Republicans and their industry supporters get their way, will lead to an approximately five-fold increase in heat-related deaths in the state’s major urban centers by the end of this century. Significant, prompt emissions reductions will lower that number substantially. Similarly, we can expect to lose 90 percent of the Sierra Nevada snowpack under the “business as usual” scenario. With prompt action, we may retain up 70 percent of the snowpack; the list of preventable harms to the states’ biological and economic resources is long and demands immediate action.
Today more than 30 environmental justice, conservation, renewable energy and other groups delivered a letter to the Governor requesting that he publicly oppose this blatant attempt to derail California’s efforts to address global warming.