WHY THIS MATTERS: The last two weeks saw California notch big wins to ensure Big Oil plays by the rules and advancing a future free of the tailpipe.
SACRAMENTO — In just the last two weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom has notched a series of victories for Californians, cutting pollution while accelerating clean energy and ZEVs:
- Governor Newsom signed legislation to hold Big Oil accountable with some of the strongest transparency and oversight measures in the nation;
- California received federal approval of its regulation requiring half of all heavy duty trucks be ZEV by 2035;
- The Governor highlighted important progress being made in Imperial Valley on lithium production, essential to the state’s ZEV transition.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
By Adam Beam
March 28, 2023
It was just a few weeks ago that California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the oil industry the second most powerful force on earth, trailing only Mother Nature in its ability to bend the elements — both physical and political — to its will.
Yet on Tuesday, Newsom signed a new law that gives state regulators the power to penalize oil companies for making too much money, the first of its kind in the country. It’s the type of legislation the oil industry might have crushed in the past. But on Monday, the bill cleared the state Assembly with only one Democrat voting against it.
“We proved we could finally beat big oil,” Newsom said Tuesday after signing the bill.
The bill is the latest in a string of defeats for the oil industry in California, a state many don’t think of as a fossil fuel powerhouse. But for decades, California was one of the leading oil producers in the United States with a bustling industry that was a key part of the state’s economy. The state is now the nation’s seventh-largest oil producer, according to federal data.
By Coral Davenport
March 31, 2023
The Biden administration on Friday granted California the legal authority to require that half of all garbage trucks, tractor-trailers, cement mixers and other heavy vehicles sold in the state must be all-electric by 2035, an aggressive plan designed to clean up the worst polluters on the road.
The pioneering truck rule goes beyond federal requirements, which is why the state needed permission from the administration to enact it. It comes on the heels of an ambitious regulation passed last year by California that requires all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be electric by the same target year, 2035.
Together, the two moves would propel California to the forefront of the race to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from transportation, the sector of the American economy that generates the most greenhouse gases.
As the world’s fifth-largest economy, the state of California has tremendous market muscle; its new rules can force changes throughout the automotive industry and spur other states to follow suit. In fact, six other states have already adopted truck rules modeled after California’s new requirement but had been waiting for federal action in order to enforce them.
By Janet Wilson
March 20, 2023
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday hailed the state’s rapid transformation to renewables from a unique spot: a lithium processing project in impoverished Imperial County, at the state’s sunbaked southern end that he and others say is part of a “transformational” industry that will bring good new jobs here while also preserving the environment for young people and aiding public health.
“We can do all of these things,” he said. “This is one of the great economic transitions, one of the great economic opportunities to change the way we produce energy, to create clean energy … and to reduce health care costs.”
He brushed off concerns about global economic volatility and fears of massive renewables slicing through rural communities to power far-off cities, saying in an interview with The Desert Sun/USA Today that what is being done here is a template for vital, sustainable economic projects.
“There’s a sense of urgency here,” Newsom said, noting the latest, grim United Nations report on climate change released that morning. “This thing is happening, it’s so much bigger than these situational things. … We have a lithium technology that doesn’t create any environmental impacts. … the market is going to drive the investment.”