Newsom signs climate bill package into law

PROMO Climate - Protest Signs Change - iStock - DisobeyArt
Published Saturday, September 17, 2022
by Madison Hirneisen

(The Center Square) - California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of new climate initiatives into law  Friday, touting them as aggressive moves to address pollution and accelerate a clean energy transition in the Golden State.

During a signing ceremony in Solano County, Newsom said the climate initiatives represent an investment in the state's future.

"We're not interested in doubling down on stupid," the governor said. "We're not interested in investing in the industries that have created the problems that we're trying to mitigate. That's just profoundly ridiculous. We're leapfrogging, we're moving in a completely new direction, and I couldn't be more proud and excited."

The legislation drew criticism from the oil and gas industry, which warned of increased costs, and praise from environmental groups for taking actions towards carbon neutrality.

Western States Petroleum Association President and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd issued a statement claiming the governor's actions are "meant to eliminate oil production and associated jobs" in the state and increase dependence on other countries for oil.

"What will be 'historic' about the package of bills signed by the Governor today will be the tremendous costs and impacts they will impose on California residents, our economy and our way of life," Reheis-Boyd said.

The climate package comes as California is experiencing the impacts of climate change through longer fire seasons, prolonged droughts and more intense heat waves that threaten electric grid reliability. The bills are part of a $54 billion spending plan that Newsom has promoted as an investment to fight climate change.

One bill signed by Newsom on Friday establishes interim targets to achieve California's "100 percent clean energy policy" by 2045. Senate Bill 1020 establishes that renewable energy sources and zero-carbon resources supply 90 percent of retail sales of electricity by December 2035 and 95 percent by December 2040. The legislation also requires state agencies to procure 100 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035.

Other measures Newsom signed Friday include:

  • Senate Bill 905, a bill that establishes a framework for carbon capture, removal, utilization and storage technologies. Carbon capture and sequestration "dramatically reduce" carbon dioxide emissions from plants that burn fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Senate Bill 1137, which creates a mandatory setback distance of 3,200 feet from any new oil well and homes, schools, parks and hospitals.
  • Senate Bill 1314, a bill that prohibits the injection of carbon dioxide fluid from a carbon capture project for enhanced oil recovery. The bill's author, Sen. Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara, wrote that the bill ensures carbon capture projects "will not result in increased oil production and emissions" through enhanced oil recovery.
  • Assembly Bill 1279, which declares California's goal to achieve "net-zero" greenhouse gas emission no later than 2045.
  • Assembly Bill 1757, a bill that requires the state to set targets for removing carbon pollution from the atmosphere with natural methods.

The California Environmental Voters, a climate advocacy group, said the governor's signatures "solidify California's place at the forefront of climate action."

"Ending oil drilling in our neighborhoods and accelerating action towards carbon neutrality, and harnessing our natural and working lands for climate resilience are enormous breakthroughs," Mike Young, political and organizing director for the group, said in a statement.

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