As the California Legislature frenetically finishes its business for the year, prospects look good for proposals that would reduce pollution that fouls the air and changes the climate.
Cleaning up our air will require a transformation in our vehicle fleet, and lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved 2 bills to put advanced clean cars, trucks and buses on our roads. SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California initiative, is authored by Senator Kevin de León and sponsored by Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, the Greenlining Institute, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. SB 1275 aims to bring one million electric vehicles to California over the next decade and ensure that low-income Californians, who are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, benefit from the transition to a clean transportation sector.
While SB 1275 primarily addresses passenger cars, SB 1204, authored by Senators Ricardo Lara and Fran Pavley, would provide money for development, demonstration, pre-commercial pilot and early commercial deployment of zero-emission and near-zero-emission truck, bus, and off-road vehicle and equipment technologies. The funds would come from the charges that oil companies and other big polluters pay for their allowances under the state’s cap-and-trade program, and priority funding would go to projects benefitting disadvantaged communities. That’s my kind of policy — take from Chevron to give to Compton, Fresno and West Oakland.
Both bills passed their final legislative milestones last night, clearing the State Senate, after passing the Assembly on Wednesday. Both now head for the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, and we urge the Gov to sign them enthusiastically, given that they will help achieve his administration’s goals for electric vehicles, cleaner air, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.