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Changes Sought in Emission Bill

July 20, 2006|From the Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is seeking changes to a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to cap greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources.

It is a move that could put him in a difficult political position if Democrats object.

Schwarzenegger has championed policies to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, which is widely considered a contributor to global warming.

But Democrats fear Schwarzenegger's requested changes could undermine the Assembly bill, which would require businesses to report and cap emissions. Both sides agree on the basic framework of the bill.

One of the stickiest amendments would create a board composed of agency heads in the governor's administration. It would have the power to implement a plan that sets emission caps, authority that in the bill is given to the state Air Resources Board.

It's an idea that Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) said would create an "inherently biased" panel of agency heads accountable only to the governor.

California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Linda Adams defended the proposed amendment, saying the new board would have the expertise and time that the Air Resources Board lacks.

"What we are proposing makes the bill stronger and workable," she said.

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