Standing at the famed Griffith Observatory with the Los Angeles skyline behind him, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a greenhouse gas reduction measure into law.
Many consider the new law, which requires the state to increase from one-third to 50 percent the amount of electricity it derives from renewable sources, to be a landmark. But the new law still lacks a provision to reduce petroleum use in motor vehicles by 50 percent by 2030.
The change in the original law was viewed as a victory for California’s oil industry and came at the insistence of moderate Assembly Democrats.
Still, the central San Joaquin Valley’s two most outspoken Republican legislators — Assembly Member Jim Patterson of Fresno and state Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford — mourned the bill’s signing in separate statements.
Neither held back.
“While California families are trying to figure out how they’re going to afford to keep their lights on, Governor Brown and like-minded politicians and special interests are taking a shameless victory lap on the signing of Senate Bill 350,” Patterson said in a statement. “The days of affordable electricity in California came and went a long time ago.
“SB 350 is more bad law that will do more harm. SB 350 will perpetuate and accelerate California's abysmal business climate and spiraling cost of living, and it will hit everybody hard: the struggling middle class, the working poor, employees and employers.
“With the cost of electricity so high the only recourse Californians have now is to use their thermostats to keep their power bills under control while they shiver in the winter and swelter in the summer. Most Californians simply cannot afford the growing high cost of living, created by legislation like this.
“When we ask ourselves how California managed to increase the cost of electricity, run more businesses out of our state, damage the reliability of our power grid — with no noticeable impact on our environment — I hope voters remember this day.”
And from Vidak:
“The district I represent is still reeling from the Great Recession and the devastating years-long drought. Too many people in rural and inland communities are impoverished; standing in food lines because they can't find work to make ends meet.
“Senate Bill 350 is a devastating measure that will force already-struggling families deeper into poverty by drastically increasing energy costs that are already some of the highest in the nation. It’s wrong when parents have to choose between the necessities of keeping the lights on and feeding their children.
“The governor’s signature on SB 350 kicks folks while they are down. It is a selfish gesture designed to fluff up his ‘legacy’ and pander to coastal elites’ ‘environmental’ self-righteousness.”