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California Releases Draft Green Chemistry Reg, GHG Emissions Law in Jeopardy

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a draft of its green chemistry regulation that implements a process for the design of safer products to protect consumers from toxic substances. Meanwhile, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction law may be delayed if a new measure tying the law to employment rates gets passed in November.

The Draft Regulation for Safer Consumer Products will implement a key component of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Green Chemistry Initiative, which he signed into law in 2008.

The draft regulation creates a science-based process to evaluate chemicals of concern in products, says DTSC. The agency also expects it will drive innovation in California’s product development sector.

The draft regulation will prioritize toxic chemicals and products, require manufacturers to seek safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in their products, and create tough governmental responses for lack of compliance.

Under the draft regulation, DTSC would create a list of chemicals that are toxic and can harm people or the environment, and prioritize products containing those chemicals based on factors such as the volume in commerce, the extent of public exposure and how the product is eventually disposed.

Manufacturers of those products would perform an “alternatives assessment” to determine if a viable safer alternative is available, says DTSC.

As part of the regulatory development process, the state agency has held several public meetings, workshops and worked with all stakeholders to develop the draft regulation as well as released the draft’s outline in April. Written comments on the draft are due to DTSC by July 15, 2010.

The state will also get a chance to vote on a new measure this November that would postpone implementation of AB 32, California’s greenhouse gas reduction law passed in 2006, reports Los Angeles Business Journal.

The law requires greenhouse gas emissions in California to meet 1990 levels by 2020, which would require substantial investment in equipment at refineries, power plants and other factories, reports Reuters.

The measure would delay AB 32 until the state’s unemployment rate goes below 5.5 percent for a year, which now stands above 12 percent, according to the journal. The unemployment rate hasn’t been that low since 2007.

The initiative was launched last year by two Republican lawmakers backed by Texas oil companies Tesoro and Valero Energy, according to the article.

Opponents to AB 32 led by Valero and other out-of-state oil interests spent nearly $2 million dollars to put the initiative on the November ballot, according to West Coast Green.

Opponents also said it will hurt businesses and lead to higher utility rates and fuel prices, reports McClatchy Newspapers.

However, new analysis shows that AB 32 will have a minimal impact on small businesses with small increases in the price of electricity, natural gas and transportation fuels, according to a Brattle Group report.

Supporters of AB 32 including Governor Schwarzenegger say if the new measure is passed it would slow the growth of green jobs and increase dependence on foreign oil, reports McClatchy.

Some environmental groups are linking the measure to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, by stating that the measure is backed by Valero and Tesoro, reports Reuters.

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One thought on “California Releases Draft Green Chemistry Reg, GHG Emissions Law in Jeopardy

  1. As I wrote in a recent EL Column, this is a blatant attempt by Texas oil companies to interfere in CA politics and kill the threat they see from a booming clean, green economy in California. AB32 is not a threat to the economy – its our best shot at economic recovery and freedom from our oil overlords. (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/05/12/latest-oil-based-catastrophe-shaping-up-in-california/)

    Go to StopDirtyEnergyProp.com for more information. We must defeat this bill in November and keep oil out of our politics. The CA Legislature just passed a 33% Clean Energy Standard for CA utilities – this is the right direction to take.

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