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California E2 Delegation in Sacramento

On March 15, Environmental Entrepreneurs completed our third annual trip to Sacramento. We met with officials and their staffs from 24 different offices in a marathon day of 17 meetings.

We discussed our ideas with leaders at all levels of state government:

State Administration officials:
Terry Tamminen, Cabinet Secretary
Alan Lloyd, Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
Ted Eliopoulos, Deputy Treasurer
Toni Symonds, Deputy State Controller
Crawford Tuttle, Deputy Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency
E2 delegation in Sacramento (left to right): Nancy Golden (NRDC), Victoria Rome (NRDC), Tim Sexton, Mark Stolman, Steve Silberstein, Bill Green, Kristina Phipps, Anna Halpern-Lande, John Dawson, Nicole Lederer, Peter Liu, Kristine Johnson, Bob Fisher, Christine Koronides (NRDC), Ann Notthoff (NRDC) and Bob Epstein. To learn more about the delegation, click here.
Senate Assembly
Senator Pro Tem Don Perata* Speaker Fabian Nunez* (D-46)
Senator Martha Escutia (D-Montebello) Assembly Member Patty Berg (D-1)
Senator Liz Figueroa* (D-Fremont) Assembly Member Wilma Chan (D-16)
Senator Dean Florez (D-Fresno) Assembly Member Loni Hancock (D-14)
Senator Christine Kehoe* (D-San Diego) Assembly Member Betty Karnette (D-54)
Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) Assembly Member Paul Koretz (D-42)
Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) Assembly Member Fran Pavley (D-41)
Senator Mike Machado (D-Linden) Assembly Member Keith Richman (R-38)
Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Monterey) Assembly Member Ira Ruskin (D-21)
Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto)  
* Indicates E2 met with their staff

This year, E2 focused on three major state issues: (1) oil dependency and global warming, (2) growth of clean technology companies in California, and (3) smart growth policies.

Oil Dependency and Global Warming

In California, cars, trucks and buses are the largest single source of global warming, soot and smog pollution that damage human health. E2 focused our discussions on three points:

AB 1493 implementation: Enacted in 2002 with the active support of E2, AB 1493 sets limits on the amount of global warming pollution new passenger vehicles are allowed to emit. The law, which will ultimately reduce emissions from new vehicles by 29% over the current baseline, has been challenged in court by automakers. E2 members spoke with officials to request that the state vigorously defend the landmark law. Support by the Schwarzenegger Administration and the state Legislature for the regulation continues to be very strong.

The meetings with legislators were an important step in laying the groundwork for effective partnerships in the future. - Bob Fisher

Alternative Fuels: As we discussed in the January 2005 newsletter, E2 is supporting AB 1007 by Assembly Member Pavley that would require fuel distributors to supply a percentage of "alternative fuels." Alternative fuels are defined as transportation fuels which use less petroleum and produce less global warming pollution per mile driven. We support the bill for three reasons. First, diversifying the state's fuel supply will make California less subject to price fluctuations and fuel supply shortages. Second, the alternative fuels industry - including biofuels - presents a significant economic opportunity for California. Third, traditional transportation fuels are a major source of global warming pollution.

Western Governors: The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have declared their joint goal to reduce global warming pollution from the region. As part of this initiative, each governor will need to announce reduction targets for their state. E2 spoke with Governor Schwarzenegger's office, requesting that they announce aggressive reduction targets for California.

To learn more see:

Cleantech

Cleantech resonated with nearly everyone we met because it captures the imagination and generates economic and job growth. - Tim Sexton

The "Cleantech" market refers to companies whose products compete on price and performance and also have environmental benefits. In September 2004, E2 and NRDC published a report called "Creating the California Cleantech Cluster" looking at the growth of Cleantech companies in North America, with a focus on California. At a recent joint hearing between Senate and Assembly environmental committees, E2 member Nancy Floyd, Managing Director of Nth Power, testified about the growth of Cleantech. E2 member Tom Van Dyck testified at the hearing about the role of socially responsible investments. Our goal is to encourage the legislature to develop programs that encourage the growth of the Cleantech market in California.

To learn more, see:

Smart Growth

California's population grows by about 500,000 people each year. The environmental and social impacts of unfettered suburban sprawl and urban disinvestments are profound and growing. California needs to respond with policies that manage growth in more sustainable and equitable patterns. There is a growing interest in the issue among officials in Sacramento. California's land use policies have not been overhauled in decades. Current growth patterns will worsen California's highway congestion, air pollution, urban blight, social inequity and housing affordability problems. These issues threaten California's environment, farms, economic vitality and quality of life. We discussed the following issues:

CEQA Reform: The Governor has initiated a review of CEQA - the California Environmental Quality Act. While some changes will be beneficial, E2 wants to ensure that changes do not inadvertently make it easier to create sprawl.

Better California Campaign: E2 and NRDC are founding members of the Better California Campaign. BCC is a diverse coalition focused on smart growth and affordable housing. BCC has developed policy guidelines that are reflected in a package of Senate bills being offered this year (see below).

Senate Housing & Transportation Package: SB 832, 575, 44 and 521 by Senators Perata, Torlakson, Lowenthal and Kehoe are a package of bills aiming to combat sprawl, reduce traffic congestion, maintain open space and farmland, and improve air quality. We encourage legislators to support the bills.

Transportation modeling: AB 1020 by Assembly Member Hancock, updates the way the state models highway needs. By including higher land use densities, urban growth boundaries and improved transit systems, this bill can save the state money by considering smart growth in addition to highway construction.

To learn more see:

Governor's Office Feedback
Walking the halls of the state capitol with such a wonderful group of E2 members and great staff was quite a bit of fun. - Mark Stolman

On the issues of climate change and energy security, the governor's office continues to be supportive of our alternative fuels approach. They also asked for our help in getting other states and countries (Japan and Canada were specifically mentioned) to support laws like AB 1493, noting that when these standards apply more broadly, car companies will benefit by having a larger market for new technologies. While California and the automakers fight over AB1493 in court, adoption of this kind of legislation in other countries and states is the next logical step toward encouraging the auto industry to innovate.

Response from Legislators

This was my first lobbying experience. The legislators were much more engaged and informed than I had expected (or than the stereotypes lead one to believe). I was impressed by the amount of interest shown in developing a California Cleantech Cluster. - Bill Green

E2's message - good environmental policy is good economic policy - received enthusiastic support from the legislators we visited. Several legislators offered their assistance to evaluate the economic and agricultural benefits of the Alternative Fuels bill (AB 1007 Pavley). Everyone with whom we met considered smart growth to be a priority for California in the coming years. Many of the Senators we spoke with are focusing on legislation to address growth issues. At the same time, these legislators recognized the importance of keeping strong environmental protections outlined in CEQA. Several legislators asked for our help in their efforts to clean up California's ports. Responding to our message about the current opportunities presented by clean technology, many legislators asked for our advice on how to lead state efforts to encourage the growth of this industry.

Bipartisan Support

It was wonderful to see the bipartisan nature of our message when both Republican and Democratic legislators showed their willingness to roll up their sleeves and work with us. - Peter Liu
In the 1970s, policies to protect our environment enjoyed bipartisan support. In recent times, these issues have become increasingly tied to partisan politics. E2's is working to return environmental legislation back to the mainstream of both parties by showing the economic benefits of environmental policies. Both Senator Maldonado and Assembly Member Richmond met with us and provided valuable advice about how we can carry our message to more Republican legislators.

Summary

I was very impressed with the strong working relationships E2 has built with members of the Senate and Assembly. - Kristine Johnson
This was our third annual trip to Sacramento. Two years ago, our first trip focused on introducing E2 to public officials. In a short time, we have developed good working relationships with many public officials and increased the number of government officials who know, respect and want to work with us. California continues to be a friendly and innovative venue for environmental protection. We expect to see significant progress on many fronts, but will also be confronted with the state's budget difficulties as we try to craft incentives and investments to promote alternative fuels, Cleantech, and smart growth within the state.

We would like to thank all the members of the E2 delegation who participated in this year's trip and did an excellent job of representing the 425 E2 members in California.


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