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Will Prop 26 Actually Impact California’s Climate Law?

Late last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council had a good post explaining why California’s Proposition 26, which voters in the state approved last Tuesday, won’t impact the state’s landmark global warming law, as many have suggested.

NRDC’s Kristin Eberhard said the proposition, which would require two-thirds approval in the state legislature for any proposal that imposes a new fee on industry, will not affect the state’s climate change law, AB32, because it only pertains to changes in statute that occur after Jan. 1, 2010.

In the weeks before the elections, environmentalists raised concerns that passage of Prop 26 would impact the state’s climate change law. That’s on top of concerns about Proposition 23, which failed, but would have suspended AB32. While Prop 26 will likely affect other environmental rules in the state — Eberhard listed fees for hazardous waste disposal — it looks like AB32 is safe.

Eberhard explained:

The Legislature passed AB 32 and the Governor signed it into law in 2006, well before Proposition 26 comes into effect. Although AB 32 implementation is ongoing, [the California Air Resources Board's] authority to impose fees on polluters under AB 32 will not require “any change in state statute” post January 1, 2010. Accordingly, Proposition 26 does not change CARB’s authority to move forward with implementing AB 32.

On top of that, Mary Nichols — head of the California Air Resources Board, which implements the state’s climate law — said Prop 26 won’t affect AB32. “Prop 26 does not impair the scoping plan adopted in 2008 or any regulations developed under that plan. AB 32 is on track,” she said on a recent conference call, according to Eberhard.

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