Et Tu, California?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


A Republican from Alaska and a coal-state Democrat are fairly obvious obstacles to EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. But California?

The California Energy Commission last month sent a letter to the EPA asking it to slow down on implementation of regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, after the agency announced that it had finalized its finding that greenhouse gases do in fact pose a threat to public health. The CEC argues that phasing them in too fast could hurt efforts in the state to expand use of low-carbon energy.

“We believe such an approach would avoid the disruptive effect of the current EPA proposal,” wrote the CEC in the Dec. 23 letter, noting that the commission thinks the EPA rules would “likely retard, rather than facilitate, reductions in (greenhouse gas emissions) from the electricity sector.”

California passed its own climate law, AB32, in 2006. The CEC argues that the introduction of new regulations from the EPA would tie up the state’s efforts to reduce carbon, because EPA regulations operate differently from a cap and reduction program like theirs, which is more similar to the type of proposal being considered in Congress. As Reuters explains:

As part of California’s plan to build more wind and solar power farms, which generate power sporadically, it would construct a fleet of highly efficient natural gas-fired power plants to back those systems.

The new rules could slow down the permitting process of those new natural gas plants, and, in turn, the build out of renewable energy, the letter said. It would also increase reliance on older, less efficient natural gas plants that are not designed to work with renewable energy.

This seems like a justifiable complaint from California, but it does ignore the fact that the rest of the country is not (much as some might like it to be) California. Most states are still reliant on dirty, aging coal plants with no concrete plan in place for transitioning away, thus the push for EPA regulations.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate