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August 2017 Essential Politics archives

This is Essential Politics for August 2017. Find our daily look at California political and government news over here.

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California Legislature

California state senators want big bucks for cleaner trucks and buses

A cadre of Democratic state senators are pushing to spend nearly $1 billion over the next year to replace diesel trucks, buses and other vehicles with cleaner versions.

A chunk of the money would come from California's cap-and-trade program, which lawmakers agreed to extend last month. The program requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases, and the state can use the revenue on initiatives that further reduce emissions.

"You are looking definitely at California's future," Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said at a Tuesday news conference as nine trucks and buses, some powered only by electricity, lined up behind him outside the Capitol.

The proposal builds on an idea outlined by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) earlier this month. 

The senators described diesel exhaust as a public health crisis in congested areas of California, especially highway corridors near international ports.

Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) held a canister holding pollution equivalent to 80 miles of exhaust from an 18-wheeler. 

"It's time to ditch diesel," she said. 

The senators aren't the only ones with their eye on cap-and-trade funding. Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) wants to use some of the money to expand incentives for drivers to buy electric cars.

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