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Friday, September 01, 2006

California Assembly Passes Foreign Oil Independence Legislation - Bill Heads to Governor

Assemblyman Joe Nation’s (D-Marin/Sonoma) Assembly Bill 1012, the Foreign Oil Independence Legislation (FOIL) Act of 2006, passed the state Assembly on a 41-35 vote and now heads to the Governor for signature or veto.

“By signing AB 1012, Governor Schwarzenegger has a historic opportunity to curb our addiction to foreign oil,” said Assemblymember Joe Nation. “Our reliance on foreign oil is a threat to our national security, environmental health, and long term economic stability. With the volatility of fuel prices, the shrinking supply and increased demand for oil across the world, California again must lead the nation in taking a stand on environmental policy. Governor Schwarzenegger now must decide whether to truly lead this environmental fight or shrink to the will of big oil and automaker special interests.”

The bill would provide the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with the authority to require that by 2020, 50% of new passenger cars and light duty trucks be clean, alternative fuel vehicles such as hydrogen, plug-in hybrids, and flex fuel vehicles. In order to qualify as an alternative fuel, AB 1012 requires that a blended fuel must be constituted of less than 50% petroleum. In addition, the legislation will strengthen CARB’s authority to ensure for the sufficient availability of alternative fuel stations in the state.

“The challenge for California and the world in the 21st century is to reduce our dependence on petroleum,” stated Michael Eaves, President, California Gas Vehicle Coalition. “California has been a world leader in reducing air pollution from vehicles, and now we need to lead on diversifying our transportation fuels and using cleaner alternative fuels.”

CARB and the California Energy Commission have recommended that the state adopt a goal of 20% non-petroleum use by 2020 and 30% by 2030.

“This bill will reduce California’s dependence on imported oil by breaking the stalemate on alternative fuels,” said V. John White, Legislative Director of the Clean Power Campaign. “Requiring the auto industry to phase in alternative fuel cars and then requiring the oil companies to make alternative fuels available to the consumer, will help curb our oil appetite and create new jobs and economic development.”

This landmark legislation will help shape national energy policy.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

Well, California has been busy lately. There's been a flurry of activity coming out of Sacramento in the past week or so, including:

  • the passage and signing of the Million Solar Roofs Bill and adoption of the California Solar Initiative (including performance-based incentives);

  • the Britian-California Climate Change Pact;

  • the California carbon cap;

  • and now these alternative transportation provisions

  • (and let's not forget the vehicle emissions standards covering CO2 emissions enacted back in October, '05).

  • As usual, California has set itself up as the vanguard of the United States on progressive and proactive strategies to reduce the impact of climate change and the end of cheap oil.

    I've been quite busy lately and haven't had a chance to delve into the specifics of either this piece of legislation, or the carbon cap scheme announced yesterday, so if anyone has details they want to discuss, I'd love to hear it. I'll take a closer look soon.

    Obviously this piece of legislation dovetails nicely with the carbon cap on the industrial sector and the gradually increasing standards on CO2 emissions from vehicles. When you throw in California's pioneering Renewable Portfolio Standard and the state's strong solar incentives, and it looks like California is piecing together a pretty comprehensive package of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption. And in the absence of this kind of action at the federal level, it's heartening to at least see an influential state like California taking proactive action like this.

    1 comment:

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