There’s been a lot of discussion leading up to today’s expected vote in the California Legislature on the extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program. While it’s important to have thoughtful debate about big issues affecting the lives of Californians, it’s apparent that now is the time for action from our elected representatives.
Climate change will have a profound effect on California. Addressing this challenge is critical to our state’s future. In fact, Gov. Brown told legislators last week that the vote on the pair of bills that extend the cap-and-trade program “is the most important vote of your life.”
With so much at stake, labor unions are strongly urging the legislature to vote “yes” on these important bills to ensure California’s environmental standards continue to lead the nation and create good jobs that sustain the middle class.
A broad coalition of union groups, including the California Labor Federation, co-signed a support letter for AB 398 and AB 617. In part, the letter reads:
The extension of the cap-and-trade program will generate much-needed funds for critical programs and projects such as: high-speed rail, affordable housing, transit oriented development, transit capital projects, energy and water efficiency projects, natural resources and waste diversion, disaster response, urban forestry projects, and more.
These bills are aligned to continue California’s global leadership in reducing GHG and air pollution and to ensure such policies are fairly implemented and create economic benefits statewide. Undeniably, the agreement reached on this bill package will improve air and water quality, create jobs, and boost our economy. These benefits, both environmental and economic, are already reaching regions across California, including some of the state’s most disadvantaged communities which are most commonly affected by the negative impacts of pollution.
The vote to extend cap-and-trade is a vote to protect California’s future. We urge the legislature to approve these measures.