Photo: California Pollution
As California officials get ready to implement their historic climate-change legislation they’re being met with expected challengers.
Groups representing low-income residents have filed a motion that could possibly delay the effectuation of portions of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) because they say the law violates the California Environmental Quality Act because the air board did not provide any alternatives, and have risked the welfare of many residents.
The low-income residents’ representatives, along with six environmental agencies, say that allowing companies to purchase carbon offsets to meet emissions limits instead of reducing the pollution could actually increase the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air. The industrial facilities would just have to pay, or promise to reduce pollution at their other locations. The problem is that companies’ offsets can be “transferred” to other locations outside of the state or even Mexico under the cap-and-trade program. This means that the pollution may not even be reduced in California, in fact, it could increase.
Brent Newell, the attorney representing the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment said because companies are allowed to buy offsets in other states, pollution reduction “doesn’t happen in California and doesn’t happen in the community that is burdened by this pollution. Cap and trade makes poor people into sacrificial lambs.”
He added that those he represents “support reducing greenhouse gasses because they know global warming has negative and disproportionate effects in their communities; they are refusing to be sacrificed.”