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in the KNOW

March 30, 2012

Cap & Trade Auction Delayed

California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair, Mary Nichols, announced on Tuesday that the first official cap and trade auction will be delayed from August to November this year. She spoke during a state hearing held in Sacramento in the Senate Select Committee on Environment, Economy & Climate Change chaired by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Regarding the delay, Nichols said, “Last year, when my board adopted the regulation, we planned to hold the first auction in this August. However, given our commitment to getting this program smoothly launched from the start, we plan to revise the schedule to hold the first auction on November 14th of this year. This will not impact the timeline for the full program launch in January 2013 or the total number of allowances auctioned this year.”

In addition, Nichols said, “We also plan to hold a fully simulated ‘practice auction’ for stakeholders in August this year. And, we expect to have the results from market simulation exercises we are undertaking that will provide additional valuable insight and information in advance of the first auction.”

Ag Council continues to be involved in the cap and trade regulatory process on behalf of impacted members. Click here to learn more about our views and recent actions.

Cap and trade is the regulatory process developed by CARB to implement AB 32, which was the landmark climate change law approved by the state Legislature and signed into law in 2006. The climate change law requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

You can read Nichols’ full statement before the Committee by clicking here.

Legislation would Repeal Fire Fee

Photo by: Peter DaSilva/EPA

Ag Council supported a measure in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee this week to repeal a new fire fee on rural residents. The $150 fee will soon be imposed on about 80,000 rural residents in state responsibility areas served by CAL FIRE and owners of habitable buildings in those rural areas.

The bill, AB 1506, is authored by Asm. Kevin Jeffries (R-Riverside), who is a retired volunteer fire captain. The measure was approved out of the Natural Resources Committee on a bipartisan vote.

Ag Council and many others support the bill to repeal the fee because it double-taxes rural residents-who already pay for fire services-without providing any additional fire services. Instead, the fee would go toward closing a budget gap at the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Also, local fire districts at the hearing said the fee will make it difficult for them to raise needed funding.

The bill faces a difficult road ahead because Governor Brown supports the rural fire fee and would likely veto any effort to repeal it. Therefore, there is a need for legislators to work together to find another path forward. Ag Council will stay engaged and keep members informed on this issue.

To read more about the fee on the CAL FIRE website, click here.

Last Chance to Order Cal Ag License Plates

The April 6th application deadline to obtain a specialized California Ag Plate is quickly approaching. Ag Council encourages members and friends to show their support for agricultural education in California by purchasing a specialized Cal Ag License Plate.

The majority of the funds for the special plates will go toward agricultural education, agricultural career awareness and training, and youth leadership development in California.

Thanks to orders by many of you in the agricultural community, and the outreach efforts of the California FFA Foundation and others, over 7,500 plates have been ordered, which is the number needed for the state Department of Motor Vehicles to move forward and process the special plates.

Click here for the online form to order a Cal Ag License Plate now. To read answers to frequently asked questions about the program, click here.

Delta Study Released

Photo by: Department of Water Resources

On Thursday, the National Research Council released a two-year study after comprehensively reviewing the environmental challenges in the Bay-Delta ecosystem.

Among the findings, the study states that a reliable water supply combined with protection of the delta species and the environment “cannot be realized until better planning can identify how trade-offs between these two goals will be managed when water is limited.”

The study also states that not just one, but “multiple environmental stressors,” are negatively affecting the threatened or endangered delta fish species. The stressors include, “dams, water pumping stations, introduced and invasive species, and changes in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations and amounts, water flow, and habitat,” according to the study.

The National Research Council study was undertaken at the request of members of Congress and the Obama administration. It was developed by 17 scientists with varied backgrounds from all across the U.S. who volunteered their time for the effort, and the study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Commerce.

To read the detailed National Research Council press release about the study, click here.

Newsletter

Due to the legislative recess, Ag Council’s In the Know newsletter will return on April 13th. In the meantime, if there is any pertinent news, Ag Council will be sure to communicate it to you.