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Schwarzenegger Vetoes Renewable Energy Bills, but Mandates His Own Plan

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Photo by Pink Dispatcher via Flickr

Photo by Pink Dispatcher via Flickr
Although the legislature last week approved two bills meant to help California obtain 33 percent renewable energy by 2020--a goal provided in legislation from 2006--Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced that he will instead sign an executive order mandating the same goal that will use different methods.

A fact everyone can agree on is that the state relies too much on coal-fired plants for energy. AB 64 (Krekorian) and SB 14 (Simitian), now vetoed, would have created "a hard mandate with the force of law behind it for this 33% by 2020 goal is critical to meeting California’s global warming goals, much championed by Governor Schwarzenegger, as well as bringing upward of 200,000 green jobs to the state," explains Dan Jacobson with Environement California. "Equally important, such a law would create the much-needed national leadership toward clean energy and global warming solutions."

And while Schwarzenegger can agree Jacobson's sentiments, he felt the bills approved by the legislature were "protectionist," limiting the amount of renewable power that could be imported from outside the state, which he called "a set up for failure." "You have to understand, we get our water from outside the state, why can't we get energy from outside?" Schwarzenegger posed at a press conference this afternoon.

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But those so-called limits within the complicated legislation were actually an effort to balance local jobs and close a loop hole in earlier legislation that allowed the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard to include out-of-state power that was never used, a waste of money for ratepayers.

Schwarzenegger, however, called the pair of bills a "job killer."

It seems that everyone wants the same thing--and they do--but at issue is how to reach that goal.

"We put in more than a year's worth of meetings with the Governor's staff, utilities up and down the state (including LADWP, a sponsor), environmental groups and business organizations," explained a spokesperson for Paul Krekorian's office, the author of AB 64. "We can't make good, clean and long lasting renewable energy policy with a neat little bow."

Adding to the Democratic reaction of today's events, Alicia Trost, Press Secretary for Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, twittered, "there is a big difference between a duly enacted law and a press proclamation issued by a gov who is on his way out the door."