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California governor to sign bill extending climate protections

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California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday will sign legislation extending his state's landmark cap-and-trade rules on climate-changing emissions.
California governor to sign bill extending climate protections

The Democratic governor will be joined by his predecessor, movie star and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the 2006 bill that led to the creation of the United States' only cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gases in all industries.

Brown lobbied hard -- and in person -- before the California legislature, arguing passionately that the bill needed to be extended to confront a “threat to organized human existence.”

But Brown did more than stand on a soapbox and press for what he wanted in public, he also talked behind closed doors with lawmakers about hard choices and compromises.

In the end, in order to secure a handful of Republican votes to save the bill, Brown sacrificed one of his pet projects a so-called "bullet train" between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The high speed rail system would have been the first of its kind in the country.

While it's not entirely dead, Brown has been funding construction of the first leg of the project, stretching from Merced to San Jose, Calif., with 25 percent of the annual cap-and-trade revenue. To date, the project has received $958 million.

But last week, he traded a sizable portion of that revenue away in a deal with state Republican Assembly Leader Chad Mayes on a state constitutional amendment that will give the GOP, the minority party in the California legislature, more say over how billions of dollars raised through cap and trade are spent.

In placing his signature on the bill at about 11 a.m. California time, Brown will add 10 years to the program, which had been scheduled to expire in 2020.

The bill signed by Schwarzenegger in 2006 required the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — a target the state is on track to meet.

State lawmakers approved an update last year, establishing a new, more aggressive goal of reducing emissions another 40 percent by 2030.

Cap and trade puts a limit on carbon emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release greenhouse gases.

Some permits, known as allowances, are given away while others are auctioned, generating billions of dollars in revenue for the state.

The governor's offices said he will sign Rep. Mayes amendment into law later this week.

For additional information:

Gov. Jerry Brown

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