Legislation to Invest in Alternatives to Fossil Gas Clears Committee

SB 1301 provides about $40 million in cap-and-trade revenue for clean energy projects aimed at reducing the use of fossil natural gas

April 20, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Southern California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas leak, which forced thousands of residents out of their homes and poured immense amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, has sparked debate about the state’s heavy reliance on fossil natural gas.

Today, legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that helps the state transition to alternative fuels passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

SB 1301 would devote an estimated $40 million a year of gas utility revenues to these projects, helping to identify and develop viable alternatives to natural gas, such as biogas, which is generated by the decay of organic material.

“Every day, we learn more about the environmental hazards and dangers created by fossil fuels,” Hertzberg said. “Transitioning away from fossil fuels takes time, investment and planning, and this legislation helps California take another step in that direction by developing alternatives to natural gas.”

California relies primarily on two energy sources: petroleum and natural gas. Natural gas is an important source of energy and, like petroleum, is mostly imported. Almost 45 percent of natural gas is used for electricity, while the rest is used by residential, industrial and commercial customers.

These uses result in an enormous greenhouse gas footprint. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the direct consumption of natural gas is responsible for about 30 percent of the state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

California has enacted several policies to reduce or displace fossil fuel consumption, including the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), AB 32, the low carbon fuels standard and a goal to reduce petroleum use by 50 percent. The programs have provided direct investments in, and substantial economic benefits for, the electricity and transportation sectors, but little has been done to reduce carbon for those customers who use fossil natural gas directly.

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Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district.  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Communications Director
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4018

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