California Passes Critical Climate Legislation with Massive Majority

Air pollution at dusk

In a very rare move, Republicans and Democrats united to pass a critical climate legislation in both California state houses Monday. It is very rare nowadays for the two parties to unite on anything as most votes are cast on a party line on opposite sides.

Republicans and Dems Join Forces

The two major parties decided to join forces on an expansion of the state’s cap and trade program. Under the law, companies are required to purchase permits if they wish to release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

With the new expansion, the requirement would stay in place until in 2030. Eight Republicans helped Dems to achieve the majority to pass the measure. Even though the number of GOP lawmakers joining Democrats was relatively small, the bill passed on a supermajority in both Houses as Gov. Jerry Brown had hoped for.

The LA Times described the recent alliance as an “unusual coalition.” Brown sought a supermajority of two-thirds of votes to defend the bill against any possible challenges in court.

Some prominent Republicans praised the measure, such as Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz who said Reagan would be proud of the effort. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also applauded the move.

The New Law May Help Big Oil

Schwarzenegger was the governor that signed first the cap and trade bill into law. He recently said that the expansion of the legislation filled him with “tremendous pride.” The actor underlined that a country could fight for a booming economy while keeping the environment clean for future generations.

However, some conservationists claim that the new bill doesn’t go far enough. Some groups even lobbied against the current version of the law in hopes for a stronger version.

The new law doesn’t allow municipalities to issue extra carbon-emission regulations for businesses. Critics say that this provision is a gift to the oil industry, which probably what convinced Republicans to join the effort.
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