"We must combat climate change without forcing more Californians into poverty or out of state"

By State Senator Patricia Bates
October 29, 2020

… We must find ways to achieve our climate change goals without forcing more Californians into poverty or out of the state. That is why discussions about these difficult issues and more need to take place in the Legislature.

Policies to successfully address climate change require informed input from the people’s representatives. My legislative colleagues and I considered Assembly Bill 3030 this year that sought to accomplish the same goals as the governor’s decree on land conservation.

… There was significant bipartisan opposition to the bill, …

The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimated AB 3030 could result in costs of “several hundreds of millions of dollars or more.”  … Others noted that the bill failed to even acknowledge the numerous state and federal environmental laws and regulations already protecting California’s natural resources. With the stroke of a pen, the governor ignored all of those concerns.

Even more troubling is the governor’s order banning the sale of new gasoline-fueled cars by 2035. There was legislation introduced in 2018 (Assembly Bill 1745) to enact the ban by 2040. The bill was so ill-conceived that it did not even get a vote in a legislative committee. The bill did not address issues such as energy grid reliability or electric car affordability. …

… I represent a coastal district, and, as vice chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, I want to support legislation that safeguards California’s environment, protects jobs and ensures recreational opportunities for everyone. If the governor had worked with the Legislature, we could have addressed concerns about cost and accountability, just as we did on Assembly Bill 793, the bipartisan plastic recycling bill that he signed into law in August.

AB 793 mandates plastic beverage bottles must contain on average 50 percent recycled plastic by 2030. It imposes mandates of 15 percent recycled content in beverage bottles by 2022 and 25 percent by 2025. …

I supported AB 793 because it genuinely took into account the concerns of communities, environmentalists and businesses. AB 793 shows that there are ways for the governor and legislators from both sides of the aisle to work together to protect our environment and economy. Sadly, the governor’s decrees undermine efforts to find a consensus and instead delegate critical details to unelected bureaucrats.

Legislators — not bureaucrats — are accountable to California’s voters. …

It is imperative that the Legislature reclaim its place as a co-equal branch of government.


Click here to read the entire Op-ed authored by Senator Bates as published in the San Diego Union-Tribune.