California Legislators Pass Ambitious Package Securing Climate Leadership

EDF Statement from Katelyn Roedner Sutter, Senior Manager, U.S. Climate

September 1, 2022
Alison Wenzel,, 832-974-0649

(Sacramento, CA — September 1, 2022) Last night, the California Legislature passed a package of significant climate legislation that includes a codification of the state’s goal to reach net-zero by 2045, a framework for the implementation of carbon capture technologies and setback requirements for oil and gas wells. These policies will improve the lives of Californians by protecting communities from the short- and long-term effects of pollution and climate change.

“California legislators just passed a strong climate package that will drive meaningful progress towards achieving carbon neutrality, responsibly deploying carbon capture technologies and solidifying community protections against pollution. But more work remains for California to ensure that it is ambitiously fighting climate change.”

Three key climate wins from this package are:

1.  The California Climate Crisis Act

With the passage of this bill (AB 1279, Muratsuchi), California has locked in a pathway for it to reach net-zero by no later than 2045. This enables the legislature, communities and businesses to start long-term planning, with certainty, for a safer future today. Critically, this goal requires California to slash emissions by 85% — ensuring the state uses solutions at our fingertips now to sharply cut pollution from industrial facilities, vehicles, power plants and more.

2.  Framework for carbon capture with community protections

Solutions meant to reduce emissions should not harm local air quality or public health, especially in communities historically overburdened by pollution. The California legislature has taken a significant step toward responsible deployment of carbon capture technology with a framework that includes essential community protections and environmental integrity provisions (SB 905, Caballero & Skinner).

3.  Health and safety setbacks around oil wells

After attempts at establishing a health and safety setback between oil and gas wells and sensitive receptors fell short in previous sessions, the California legislature has finally codified essential community protections (SB 1137, Gonzalez, Limon). Achieving California’s climate goals is essential, but how we achieve those goals matters enormously. By ensuring a setback requirement to minimize the pollution impacts of oil wells, California has taken a significant step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, a key piece of legislation (AB 2133, Quirk) did not make it through this legislative session. The bill would have ramped up targeted pollution cuts from 40% to 55% — a target that would have been among the strongest in the country. California still needs this to maximize cuts in climate pollution in this decade — which is absolutely crucial for the fight against climate change.

“We thank the legislative leadership and Governor Newsom for their extraordinary efforts and ambitious vision for a climate-safe future for all Californians. We look forward to ensuring this package of legislation serves the people of California, and that the state remains at the forefront of state-led climate action.”

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