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Lawmakers Want Change In Governor's Cap-And-Trade Focus

Democrats who represent disadvantaged communities in California are sending a message about the state’s signature climate-change-fighting program: They’re willing to provide the governor votes to continue it, but only with changes.

A contingent of California Assembly members and environmental groups argue the state’s main greenhouse gas reduction program, cap-and-trade, doesn’t do enough to benefit low-income communities, who are often disproportionately affected by pollution. So, the lawmakers have introduced a measure that allows extension of the program past a 2020 expiration date, but only if it accounts for that disparity.

The bill author is Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia.

"I think once we square that away, I would say my peers are eager to be part of the next step and possibly work on cap-and-trade," says Garcia. 

Maintaining cap-and-trade is a major priority of Governor Jerry Brown’s—and he wants two-thirds of lawmakers to approve its extension. It’s complicated, but that could help resolve a lawsuit also threatening the program. This bill shows lawmakers want a change in the program’s focus, in return for their votes the governor will require.