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California's congressional Dems push for state climate bills

California's congressional Dems push for state climate bills
© Greg Nash

Democrats in the California congressional delegation are urging state lawmakers to pass two sweeping environmental bills this legislative session. 

Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' Senate Democrats call on Biden to restore oversight of semiautomatic and sniper rifle exports MORE and Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status MORE sent a letter to members of the California Assembly on Wednesday urging them to pass the bills before their legislative session ends next month.

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House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Rural Democrats urge protections from tax increases for family farms Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE and 25 other congressional Democrats endorsed the measures on Friday, as well. 

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would codify Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) climate goals into law and another to cut the state’s oil consumption over the next 15 years.

Both bills passed the state Senate this summer, but the Assembly has yet to consider them. The bills’ boosters hope to the pass them before lawmakers adjourn on Sept. 11. 

“We're running out of time to address the climate crisis,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday.

“We need strong leadership at the state and local levels because deniers in Congress are still using snowballs to refute the overwhelming consensus of the global scientific community. I hope my friends in the California legislature can lead by example.”

Brown’s climate goal — aiming for a 40 percent reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 — is one of the most aggressive in the nation. He issued an executive order setting the target in April, but lawmakers hope to enshrine it in California law as well.

Democrats are also pushing a bill to increase renewable energy in the state and cut oil consumption in half by 2030.

The oil and gas industry has pushed back against the bill, warning that it would hurt drivers and businesses in California, as well as the state’s petroleum producers. But Democrats have rebuffed those concerns, and highlighted the legislation’s potential environmental impact instead. 

“These visionary bills would set ambitious goals on renewable energy, energy efficiency and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, building on the success California has already had in protecting public health and creating clean energy jobs,” Feinstein and Boxer wrote in their letter.