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Lawmaker Defends California Climate Change Bill

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Debate over an ambitious climate change bill continues to sizzle in the California Legislature as its final vote nears.

Senate leader Kevin de León responded Wednesday to what he said are fears about his measure stoked by the oil industry.

His bill, SB 350, would require a cleaner blend of fuels, but won’t ban gasoline or force limits on driving, the senator said.

"I’m under no illusion whatsoever that oil will be eliminated,” de León told reporters on a conference call. “That’s just not a reality. It’s not going to happen in the present. It’s not going to happen in the near future or in my lifetime.”

His measure calls for cutting petroleum use in half for cars and trucks by 2030. Under the bill, biofuels would be added to existing blends.

The Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry group, did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

In the past, it has said SB 350 would be “devastating” for California, adding that alternative fuels aren’t affordable.

A state Assembly committee is expected to vote on the measure later this month.