Energy

California Conservatives Target GOP Lawmaker For Supporting Cap And Trade

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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California conservative groups and politicians plan on ousting a Republican congressman from his state leadership position for supporting Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap and trade program.

Republican officials in California are openly campaigning to jettison Assembly Republican leader Chad Maye because of his vote earlier this year for a Democratic-sponsored climate bill. Local politicians and powerful donor groups, have pilloried Maye for his vote, and the state party’s board of directors is expected to vote on the issue Friday.

Tim Donnelly, a conservative former assemblyman who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014, called on tea party members to take Mayes down.

“I think every single Republican in the state of California should make it their business to make phone calls for whomever is going to primary Chad Mayes if he doesn’t resign his seat,” Donnelly said Friday. He has criticized Brown in the past for supposedly focusing too narrowly on climate change and not enough on other state problems.

Many Republicans in the state claimed Brown’s push would act as a type of tax on the poor. State Sen. Andy Vidak, for instance, said the extension represents a “regressive” tax that would not substantially impact the climate. Vidak’s fellow congressmen can remove Mayes from his leadership post in August by a vote of his 25-member caucus.

Brown signed the cap and trade bill in July after it received enough support from the Senate and assembly to pass. The law extends past California’s 2020 climate measure, essentially gifting the governor a major victory before leaving office in 2018.

Brown lobbied hard for the bill and claimed passing the measure would place California on the forefront of the climate crusade.

Twenty-eight senators voted in favor of the bill, but only one Republican in the senate crossed party lines on the measure. Many of the bill’s opponents in the Senate noted that California represents just 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The cap and trade project is not the only environmental law currently hurting the state’s politicians. Californians signed signatures in May for a recall effort against Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman for his vote in favor of for the state’s gas tax.

The law imposes a $0.12 cent a gallon hike on citizens and raises the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon. It also implements an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car’s value.

Still, some Republicans believe Mayes supported cap-and-trade to stay relevant in a Democratically-run state.

“There is historically a tension between being relevant as the minority party, and achieving success on the margins — as opposed to being 100% doctrinaire,” said Rob Stutzman, an adviser to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has become a strong environmentalist since leaving the governorship, according to the LA Times.

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