Governor Brown’s State of the State: California has Many Opportunities in 2013 to Invest in Clean Energy and Its People

California's landmark clean energy laws moving forward along with other key measures to fight climate change

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (January 24, 2013) — Governor Jerry Brown today outlined his priorities for 2013 during his annual State of the State address with key measures that will see California continue to forge ahead with groundbreaking policies that create a healthy environment and a strong economy for millions of Californians. Yet in 2013, significant challenges lay ahead for Governor Brown and those who share his vision of a clean energy and environmentally progressive future. 

During his inaugural address President Obama spoke of our collective obligation to address climate change. We couldn’t agree more, and we are encouraged by Governor Brown’s continuing commitment to curbing climate change. We call on California leaders to work with the president and other states to move our nation forward to clean energy solutions that will strengthen our economy while creating jobs, reducing carbon pollution and securing a healthier, brighter future for us all.

Following is a statement by Ann Notthoff, California advocacy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Governor Brown and his environmental team have critical decisions in front of them in 2013. We call on them to champion our clean energy laws, protect public health, craft innovative water solutions and protect our coast and ocean. We will fight those who would turn back the clock, who would curb citizen rights to participate in their neighborhoods’ future, who would risk our health by promoting dirty energy, and who would continue mistakes of the past, such as our continued dependence on oil and over-reliance on imported water without developing reliable local sources.”

Key Environmental Issues for Governor Brown in 2013:

  • Bay-Delta protection and water reliability: Governor Brown needs to prioritize the dual goals of restoring the Bay-Delta ecosystem, including a healthy salmon fishery, and ensuring a more reliable water supply. An alternative proposal for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process released by conservation and business groups shows that reducing water exports from the Delta while investing in a broad portfolio of local water solutions can save Californians billions of dollars in costs while increasing water supply and strengthening protections for the ailing delta ecosystem and its fisheries. We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to ensure that affordable and effective solutions are considered as integral parts of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
  • Energy efficiency: We look forward to working with the governor, the legislature and State agencies to continue to accelerate California’s energy efficiency programs and standards. As Governor Brown noted, these efforts have already saved Californians $65 billion, and expanded efforts could lower utility bills by billions of dollars more while cleaning the air, creating more clean energy jobs, and curbing global warming pollution.
  • RPS: California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, one of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy programs, requires utilities to supply 33 percent of California’s electricity sales from renewable sources by 2020. This is enough clean energy to power nearly 9 million homes. The RPS legislation passed in 2011 also set the 20 percent intermediate target for 2011-2013 and increases it to 25 percent for 2014-2016. We look forward to continue working with Governor Brown and the legislature to move California to our clean energy targets and beyond.
  • California Environmental Quality Act: We urge Governor Brown to reject efforts to weaken the California Environmental Quality Act, which has provided protections against local pollution and health threats for residents for more than 40 years. A recent NRDC white paper shows that CEQA litigation is only .02 percent of all civil litigation in California. Policymakers in Sacramento should focus on promoting a robust California economy supported by good, local jobs and a healthy quality of life – clean air, clean water, recreational opportunities – which are powerful magnets for both business and tourism.
  • Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Governor Brown should prioritize reducing California’s oil dependency by phasing in cleaner fuels and phasing out the dirtier ones. Hundreds of advanced fuel companies stand ready to produce and supply the cleaner fuels of tomorrow for California. Policies like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard will provide transportation choices that will bring down gas prices over the long term, create jobs and spur innovation for clean fuel companies to grow and succeed.
  • Spending plan for carbon emissions reduction program: The dialogue and process for a spending plan for the nation’s first economy wide program to reduce carbon emissions is moving forward in a thoughtful, public manner and we look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to ensure that the money is invested to benefit all Californians.    
  • Toxic-free furniture: We are counting on Governor Brown’s administration to advance new regulations to modernize California’s decades-old furniture flammability standard, TB-117, which has resulted in a proliferation of toxic chemicals in our bodies and our environment. Chemicals used as flame retardants have been associated with cancer, hyperactivity, hormone disruption and lowered IQ but do nothing to prevent household fires.  
  • Proposition 39: This groundbreaking measure that closed a tax loophole for out-of-state companies, providing $450 million this year in funding for schools, stands to create jobs, improve schools’ efficiency and savings, and present opportunities for California school children to see first-hand the potential of clean energy. We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to ensure that these investments build on the state’s decades-long experience implementing clean energy programs.   
  • Fracking: As California considers significant expansions of oil production, public health and safety must be paramount. We urge the governor and the legislature to endorse the strongest policies possible to ensure transparency as well as public health and environmental protection when developing energy resources in California.   
  • SB 375 and transit investments: The new federal transportation bill, MAP-21, gives California the flexibility to prioritize the use of federal funds in transportation investments that cut pollution and traffic congestion while giving Californians more options to get around. We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to invest in the new Active Transportation Program and other key measures to help regions implementing the Sustainable Communities Strategies under SB 375, which make California a national leader in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

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