California bill to delay cap-and-trade expansion finished for year

By Jeremy B. White, Sacramento Bee

Avoiding an election-year legislative debate over how California’s cap-and-trade program could affect gasoline prices, the leader of the state Senate has sidelined a bill that would have delayed a key aspect of California’s landmark emissions law.

Several years have passed since California enacted AB 32, a 2006 law meant to reduce heat-trapping emissions and which requires industries to purchase permits for the carbon they pump into the air. But transportation fuelssuch as gasoline have not yet come under the program. That is scheduled to change in January, prompting moderate Democrats and an oil industry-funded campaign to warn about a spike in prices and argue for a delay.

Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, warned that the change would hurt residents of inland districts where unemployment hovers above the state average and long commutes are commonplace. His Assembly Bill 69 would have delayed bringing transportation fuels under the cap-and-trade program. Numerous moderate Democrats signed a letter supporting the concept.

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