Plan is to make California more energy efficient with half of state’s energy use from renewable sources by 2030.
By MARTIN HENDERSONÂ
On the terrace of Griffith Observatory with a sweeping view of the Los Angeles basin behind him, Gov. Jerry Brown signed much- debated legislation today mandating that half of the stateâ€™s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 and calling for a doubling of the energy efficiency of buildings.
â€œCalifornia has taken groundbreaking steps to increase the efficiency of our cars, buildings and appliances and provide ever more renewable energy,â€ Brown said. â€œWith SB 350, we deepen our commitment.â€
The ambitious mandates of SB 350, championed by Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, were outlined by Brown in his inaugural address in January. But de Leonâ€™s legislation was significantly watered down last month in the state Assembly, which stripped away a requirement that the state slash its gasoline use by 50 percent in the next 15 years.
That provision sparked heated debate in Sacramento, thanks to opposition from the oil industry and concerns from some Democrats who feared possible economic fallout from the move.
Despite the loss of the gasoline provision, de Leon said the legislation still includes steps that â€œbuild on Californiaâ€™s historic commitment to lead the world in the fight against climate change and build a healthy and livable planet for our children and grandchildren.â€
At todayâ€™s ceremony, de Leon gestured at the sweeping view of Los Angeles behind him, saying there was a time when all you could see was smog.
â€œIt made your eyes burn, your throat sting and most of all, the sight made your heart ache,â€ he said. â€œBecause we believed that air pollution was the cost of doing business — that environmental health and economic growth were mutually exclusive. Today we are proving otherwise. Thanks to our commitment to clean air, we can see the Los Angeles skyline clearly. And we can see the stars in our sky.â€
Even with the elimination of the gasoline provision, the legislation was still met with opposition by Republicans, who said the measure will damage the stateâ€™s economy.
â€œThis law should be called the California Economic Cooling Act, because SB 350 puts Californiaâ€™s economic recovery on ice,â€ Sen. John Moorlach, R- Costa Mesa, said. â€œBy almost every measure, California is already the most expensive state in which to build a business and raise a family. SB 350 is projected to double Californiaâ€™s electricity costs, which are already among the nationâ€™s highest.
â€œWhat business wants to come to California, where weâ€™re making it economically impossible to survive?â€ he asked. â€œWhile Californiaâ€™s lawmakers are trying to save the world, theyâ€™re simultaneously bringing extinction to Californiaâ€™s economic competitiveness.â€