SACRAMENTO - In an effort to protect California’s climate change successes from potential attempts to weaken the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation, has announced a series of hearings over the next three weeks. The hearings are intended to help Californians understand the impact of proposed rollbacks of federal environmental regulations and budget cuts aimed at climate change and clean air programs. The hearings will focus on research, investment in green infrastructure, and enforcement of pollution violators – all of which could soon be severely curtailed or eliminated.
“When California enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act just over a decade ago, we not only took the first significant step in combating climate change in our own state, but elevated the dialogue and engagement of the world in the fight against global warming,” said Bloom. “Unfortunately, our progress is threatened by an Administration that has vowed to dismantle the U.S. EPA and with it, many of the policies that equipped the agency to be a leader on climate change.”
The first hearing, which will be held on February 29, will address significant research advancements of the last decade and the potential consequences of cuts to labs and research institutions. Many of the nation’s leading research labs are located in California and receive substantial sums of federal funding. The research produced by these institutions has had, and will continue to have, real and tangible impacts. In particular, renewable energy development and energy efficiency research will play a critical role in meeting climate goals. Research in climate modeling will help California address its water delivery and storage needs. Additionally, the research produced by these labs has nexuses to countless other issues, from public health to national security.
A second hearing will cover potential impacts on the EPA's ability to enforce climate regulations. Last year, the U.S. EPA, in concert with the California Air Resources Board, led the investigation into alleged diesel emissions fraud by Volkswagen that ultimately led to a financial settlement of over $14 billion. Subsequently, the work by the two agencies has prompted an investigation into Fiat-Chrysler over similar alleged violations.
“The threat to California’s premier research institutions is real and present,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “We must continue to value science and support the scientists and labs that advance it.”