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Another environmental bill takes a hit in Sacramento

The push for aggressive new California policies on climate change suffered another major setback Thursday.

Legislation to require the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and to 80% below those levels by 2050 was pulled from consideration. The measure, SB 32, failed to win support from lawmakers and faced objections from the governor’s office.

“Senate Bill 32, a measure aimed at bolstering California’s efforts to combat climate pollution well into the 21st century, will not be considered during the waning hours of the legislative session set to adjourn late Friday,” said Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Pavley vowed to revive the legislation in 2016.

The defeat comes a day after Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders withdrew a major portion of their ambitious proposal to combat climate change – a provision calling for a 50% cut in petroleum use by 2030 – after they were unable to overcome fierce opposition from the oil industry and resistance from some Democrats.

Pavley tried to overcome the opposition by changing her bill to provide more legislative oversight of the state's powerful Air Resources Board, which has become a sticking point in climate negotiations with lawmakers.

However, the governor felt some of the recent amendments compromised the effectiveness of the measure.

“The administration was supportive of the legislation as introduced, but later amendments could have weakened the state’s existing ability to fight climate change,” said Gareth Lacy, the governor’s deputy press secretary. "We can’t trade what is already being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to get a new bill.”

Pavley’s bill would have codified in state law long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that were set by Brown and his predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in executive orders.

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