California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that he would work to help push through an ambitious renewable-energy bill that the state legislature failed to pass before a midnight deadline on Tuesday.
Schwarzenegger said he would work with lawmakers on the renewable-energy bill while negotiating the state budget.
“We can fine-tune that so we get it done,” he said, speaking at a press conference webcast from Sacramento where he discussed the outlook for a bipartisan agreement on the state’s budget, Automated Trader reports.
The renewable energy bill, SB 722, would have required California public utilities to obtain 33 percent of their power from “new renewables,” i.e., solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass, but not large-scale hydroelectric dams. Debate was proceeding on a companion bill when August 31 turned into September 1 and the session ended, Greentech Solar reports.
Despite broad support, the legislature ran out of time Tuesday night for a final vote on the measure before a midnight deadline. While SB 722 is technically dead, the bill could be revived if it were included in the budget process, which is ongoing. It will be up to Schwarzenegger to decide whether to allow the bill to be included in the budget process, a move that he indicated he would consider.
“Anything that was not accomplished, I will try to get them done before I leave office,” Schwarzenegger told the Los Angeles Times.
The legislature passed a similar renewable-energy bill last year, but Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure over a disagreement about how much out-of-state electricity would be allowed under the program. This year, the two sides were much closer to agreement on a renewable-energy bill, although details, including a limit on out-of-state power purchases and compliance rules, were still being ironed out. Lawmakers also were working out final provisions, pushed by Schwarzenegger, for simplifying the approval process for construction of new solar and wind farms in California.
Schwarzenegger, who will leave office at year’s end due to term limits, and Democrats have extra motivation to nail down a 33 percent renewable-energy law, as the climate law that envisioned the mandate is under threat by a proposal set for the November ballot.