(From Press Release) – – Today, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) voted in strong support of landmark legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program. The package includes AB 398 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), AB 617 by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), and ACA 1 by Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley).
Together, these bills will ensure that California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals through extending and enhancing the cap-and-trade program, monitoring and reducing air pollution in our most vulnerable communities, and holding the Legislature accountable for its management and spending of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund revenue.
“When I came to the Capitol, I knew the most important vote I would take this year would be on cap-and-trade. This program is a global model that shows how we can strike a balance between aggressive climate change goals and protecting and strengthening our economy,” said Aguiar-Curry.
“For months I fought to bring the agricultural community and food processing industry to the table as participants in the discussion. I’m proud to say that we negotiated a cap-and-trade deal that strikes this balance. It holds all regulated industries accountable to reduce emissions, while also ensuring our agricultural industries get the support they need to make those reductions.”
California law requires the state to meet aggressive climate change goals that slash greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The cap-and-trade program allows businesses to buy and sell greenhouse gas emissions credits to meet a declining “cap” on the total amount allowed.
Economists agree this market-driven system allows California businesses to reduce emissions in the most economically-feasible and environmentally-friendly way. Without a legislative extension of cap-and-trade, California businesses would still have to meet state climate change goals without the market flexibility cap-and-trade provides.
“Cap-and-trade done right can successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep industries in California. Done wrong, we push businesses, jobs, and emissions out of state,” said Aguiar-Curry. “Food processors in my district are especially vulnerable to these economic pressures. The package passed today represents a compromise between environmental leaders, industry stakeholders, and policymakers to keep agricultural businesses in California, so they can continue being part of the solution to climate change.”
Assembly District 4 is a national epicenter for sustainable farming, innovative ranching, and food processing. Although farming is not subject to cap-and-trade, environmentally-friendly agricultural practices play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide. However, without state assistance from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, it is doubtful whether these cutting-edge agricultural leaders can continue to cover the costs of their efforts.
Mona Shulman from Pacific Coast Producers, a food processor with facilities in Woodland, said: “As recognized by Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, who has been a strong supporter of family farms and food producers, this bill is needed to prevent economic leakage and to protect our California companies against national and international competition. We join her in supporting AB 398.”
Roger Isom, President and CEO of the Western Agricultural Processors Association, agreed by stating: “The passage of AB 398 is the only way to extend the existing cap-and-trade program, which is the only affordable method for food processors to meet those reductions.”
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, author of AB 398, was one of many colleagues who individually thanked Aguiar-Curry during debate on the Assembly Floor for her leadership in representing rural communities. Aguiar-Curry stated, “The package we voted on today was passed with the assurance that farmers and ranchers will have the resources they need to continue the important work they do to achieve our climate change goals.”
Jay Ziegler on behalf of The Nature Conservancy said, “Every scientific analysis of how we reduce greenhouse gas emissions tells us that we need to connect land use to our carbon strategies. We greatly appreciate Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry’s leadership in working to ensure that the natural and working lands are an integral part of California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts. Our farms, forests, wetlands, and open spaces are key priorities in reaching our shared climate goals.”
Hundreds of agriculture, food processing, environmental, clean energy, business, labor, local government, public health, and research groups from all over California have come out in strong support for this legislative package. These bills are the product of months of research, stakeholder meetings, and negotiations, which is reflected in the broad group of diverse supporters.
Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake and Napa Counties, parts of Colusa, Solano and Sonoma Counties, and all of Yolo County except West Sacramento.