States with poor climate policy ‘overlap’ with those seeking to limit rights, Kamala Harris says
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s chief environmental regulator said Thursday that there are “overlapping jurisdictions” in the nation’s most populous state, a revelation that underscores the complexity of the fight over climate change and the potential for conflict.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra said California’s environmental laws and policies have not protected residents against the economic and social costs of climate change and that federal inaction on curbing emissions could lead to “a federal takeover of some of the state programs that protect our environment.”
In a speech at UC Davis, Becerra said U.S. federal regulation on coal companies and other major polluters is needed to reduce climate pollution. But he said the Obama administration is moving forward on proposals to undermine California’s cap-and-trade program, which has been a key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
State officials said the speech was just a re-tooling of one he delivered as state attorney general in June 2014, with a similar theme and with similar emphases on California’s role in addressing climate change. That speech was recorded and published as a new audio excerpt by UC Davis News Service.
“You’re going to hear from state officials that states that have passed laws for dealing with climate change that are not being enforced, that these laws are not being enforced because climate change is more important than the economy or the well-being of the people are, they are the ‘overlapping jurisdictions,'” Becerra told the crowd of about 100, state officials, and journalists.
The state’s environmental regulators say California is not getting a fair shake in their fight to address climate change, due to its failure to adopt and enforce rules to reduce emissions or to hold polluting companies accountable.
The attorney general’s office has been investigating the lack of oversight by the California Air Resources Board on the proposed Pebble Mine, a controversial copper mine proposed in the state’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
The agency, which is in charge of regulating air pollution in California, has declined to take action on the mine.
The EPA’s own website says it is “undertaking comprehensive review of all aspects of climate change.” But the agency has said nothing about