California judge halts cap and trade program

Amanda Carey Contributor
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During the 2010 midterm elections, California voters rejected Prop. 23 – a provision that would have postponed the implementation of the state’s cap and trade program until unemployment was down for five consistent years. But in a ruling published on Monday, a San Francisco superior court judge went a step further and halted the entire program, arguing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was “unable to make an informed decision” because it had failed to consider other alternatives.

In his 35-page ruling, Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith wrote that the cap and trade plan “fails to provide meaningful information or discussion about the carbon fee (or carbon tax) alternative in the scant two paragraphs devoted to this important alternative.”

Goldsmith went on to write, “The brief fifteen line reference to the carbon fee alternative consists almost entirely of bare conclusions justifying the cap and trade decision. Informative analysis is absent.”

The state’s cap and trade plan was passed as the Global Warming Solutions Act 0f 2006, or AB32, under then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  It requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020.

The ruling was prompted by a lawsuit filed by six environmental groups like the Association of Irritated Residents and the Coalition for a Safe Environment. They argue that a cap and trade system would still allow refineries and plants to get away with emitting too many harmful greenhouse gases

CARB has promised to appeal the ruling.