Friday, October 29, 2010

California's air board releases cap-and-trade proposal

California's Air Resources Board today published its proposal for a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A public-comment period starts Monday and lasts through Dec. 15. The board will consider adopting the plan at a hearing on Dec. 16.

The board has continued aiming for an early-2012 implementation of the plan as polls have shown wavering public opinion on Proposition 23. Prop 23 would suspend AB 32, the state's 2006 greenhouse gas-reduction law, for the foreseeable future. Cap-and-trade is the centerpiece of the air board's efforts at reaching AB 32's emissions mandates.

After polls in September showed Prop 23 pulling even among voters, surveys this month show it trailing by double digits.

The California Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers and other farm groups support freezing AB 32. While the air board predicts minimal business impacts from cap-and-trade, farmers say it will hurt their operations as farm-input manufacturers mitigate the impacts of new emissions caps by raising prices.

Farmers argue that, unlike those manufacturers, they can't pass on new costs.

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