Groups Slam Cap-and-Trade Deal as Too Industry-Friendly

July 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Some environmental groups are criticizing the cap and trade bill passed in the California Legislature on Monday, calling it a corporate giveaway that paralyzes local regulators.

Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign a package of bills that passed the Legislature on Monday and will extend the state’s cap-and-trade program through 2030. The cap-and-trade system encourages industry to clean up its act by putting a price on carbon emissions. But environmental groups say Big Oil got too many concessions. Amy Vanderwarker with the California Environmental Justice Alliance says the governor should have started with a bolder vision to move away from oil and gas – and then could negotiate, rather than meeting behind closed doors with big companies from the start.

“There has to be a transition off of fossil fuels, and there has to be a transition to regenerative economies that actually put people and the planet first, instead of profits for our largest corporations in the world – who are the very drivers of the issue we are trying to solve.”

Vanderwarker faults the primary bill, Assembly Bill 398, for preventing local air-quality management districts from further regulating carbon emissions from stationary sources, like heavy industry and power plants. Governor Brown defends the package, saying it’s the best he could do and still achieve the main goal of extending the program, which had to pass by a two-thirds margin and thus required bipartisan support.

Alvaro Sanchez from the Greenlining Institute says the devil will be in the details, He urges regulators to prioritize the needs of low-income communities that stand to bear the brunt of climate impacts first – and worst.

“We need to make sure that the revenues generated by cap-and-trade are directed at much higher levels to the communities that are burdened the most, so that they can benefit the greatest.”

A companion bill from the Republican caucus also passed. It places a measure on the June 2018 ballot asking voters to make any major expenditures from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund subject to a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, starting in 2024.

‘No Idling’ Regs Coming to Commerce

June 25, 2015 by · 4 Comments 

Diesel burning trucks idling for long periods is a problem in the City of Commerce. On Tuesday, city officials, residents and local environmental groups unveiled the city’s latest effort to try to curtail the practice: 20 new “No Idling” signs to be installed in areas where truck drivers tend to stop off for a while but keep their engines running.

Lea este artículo en Español: Llegan Nuevas Regulaciones para Camiones en Commerce

The new signs were created in partnership with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the California Environmental Protection Agency, (CalEPA) and  meet the new regulations set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding the idling of commercial vehicles.

The new regulations require “No Idling” signs to be placed at locations where significant numbers of idling trucks have been found.

“We established a policy that protects climate change and to inform mobile sources—trucks, cars, ships, railroads—because they are the primary source of air pollution in south coast basins,” CARB Board Member Judy Mitchell told EGP.

A group of community activists and elected officials unveil the ‘No Idling’ signs that will be placed around Commerce. (EGP photo by Jaqueline Garcia)

A group of community activists and elected officials unveil the ‘No Idling’ signs that will be placed around Commerce. (EGP photo by Jaqueline Garcia)

In 2013, East Yards and their student led group at Bell Gardens High School, Youth in Action, conducted a study to determine how many trucks are on Commerce streets on any given day. “Truck Truthing” study volunteers biked and walked the city’s major corridors of Atlantic, Washington and Slauson Boulevards, and counted the number of trucks on the road.

“We chose those locations because they are closest to the 710 or 5 freeways, and very close to residential areas, homes or churches,” Hugo Lujan of East Yards told EGP.

Noel Pimentel, 14, is a Youth in Action member. He told EGP that volunteers would stand on corners every day for an hour, using a clicker to count how many trucks go by.

“In an hour, close to 1,000 trucks came by,” he said, adding that volunteers wanted to stay longer but couldn’t “because we would start having headaches from all the fumes.”

The study found that approximately 47,000 diesel trucks travel the 710 freeway daily, exposing Commerce residents and workers to large amounts of diesel, increasing their risk of cancer, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Pimentel said one day he approached a truck driver and asked him why he left his engine running. “Because I don’t want the engine to burn out, because it takes forever to turn on,” he responded.

The results of the Truck Truthing exercise were turned over to the city to help inform officials about the importance of placing “No Idle” signs along heavy traffic corridors, the study states.

Commerce has started an outreach campaign to inform truck drivers about the new “No Idling” signage and policy, including enforcement. “The city has been working with local businesses to distribute letters explaining the new policy” before the signs go up, said public works Director Maryam Babaki.

She said the city will not begin enforcing the ordinance until businesses and drivers have had a “sufficient amount of time” to become familiar with the signs and policy chance. Enforcement could include fines, she said.

This new regulations apply to diesel-fueled commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds operating in California, regardless of where they are registered. School buses are prohibited from idling within 100 feet of a school, and drivers may not start engines more than 30 seconds before they start driving.

Mayor Lilia Leon told EGP that the change is a work in progress. “Trucks will have to get used to the signs and what we are trying to do is improve the quality of air in the city of Commerce,” she said.

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