Governor Davis signs groundbreaking bill to reduce auto-related global warming pollution

provided by Bluewater Network

n Monday, July 22, 2002, Governor Davis signed into law the first bill in US history to regulate global warming pollution from cars and light-duty trucks, ending a contentious two-year campaign. Assembly Bill 1493 puts California at the forefront in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of global warming.

    “The Governor's willingness to take up arms in the global warming battle truly distinguishes him from other leaders,” said Russell Long, Executive Director of Bluewater Network, the organization responsible for drafting the bill in January 2001. Long. “By signing this bill, Governor Davis demonstrates the kind of vision, courage, and leadership that Californians have come to expect from our elected officials,”

    “California can and will force the automakers to do what they should have done years ago, and give us cleaner cars,” Long concluded. “Time after time, our state has proven that protecting the environment is consistent with protecting our economy – this reasonable bill adds to that legacy. By refusing to protect our nation from global warming, Mr. Bush has thrown down the gauntlet to the states. California is up to the challenge.”

    Assembly Bill 1493 is the successor to AB 1058, the global warming bill championed by Assembly Member Fran Pavley for the past two years. The new legislation includes language addressing public fears stirred up by an auto industry campaign, including explicit prohibition of new taxes, speed limit reductions, or mandatory reductions in vehicle weights. In addition, AB 1493 calls for an immediate policy hearing on the greenhouse gas emissions standard, once it is set by the California Air Resources Board.

    Just like AB 1058, AB 1493 instructs the California Air Resources Board to develop the maximum technologically feasible, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases by January 2005. Auto manufacturers will be given maximum flexibility to decide how to achieve these standards, and consumers' pocketbooks will be protected by a requirement that the regulation be economical to the owners and operators of passenger vehicles. Additionally, AB 1493 will provide consumers with more vehicle choices and help reduce dependence on Mid-East oil.

    Although AB 1493 is a state bill, the regulations are ultimately expected to extend beyond California's borders. Automakers may offer cleaner vehicles in other states, since the California vehicle market is so large that it may not make sense to create special California models. And other states may follow suit with their own legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Bluewater Network is a national organization aggressively confronting the root causes of climate change and fighting environmental damage from the shipping, oil, and motorized recreation industries. Your support is critical to the success of our activities. For more information, visit our website, Bluewater Network, 311 California Street, Suite 510, San Francisco, CA 94104; (415) 544-0790.