Governor Brown Signs Four Bills to Fight Super Pollutants and Expand Clean Vehicle Access at the Global Climate Action Summit

September 13, 2018

Includes nation-leading super-pollutant law and first-of-its-kind HOV sticker program for used zero emission vehicles

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today Governor Brown signed into law four bills authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to limit air pollution that harms public health and fuels global warming. The Governor signed the bills during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

The new laws will keep California spur investments in reducing dangerous super pollutants and make clean-air vehicles more accessible and affordable to Californians with low and moderate incomes.

“Californians may not know about international climate treaties, but they do know about high asthma rates and heart disease, low birth weights, and extreme heat waves,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “Clean air and shorter commutes are not a luxury item. Cutting super pollutants and dirty diesel is not an impossible dream. That is why these bills are important – they tell families and businesses that California is on their side as we move to a clean-air economy. If families buy an electric car, they will be able to get a sticker and find a fast-charger near them. If a business builds a new supermarket, it can access clean-air funds to help pay the cost of more efficient refrigeration. Global climate commitments are important, but what matters most is the actions California families and businesses take in the years ahead.”

The four bills signed by Governor Brown today are the California Cooling Act (Senate Bill 1013), the ZEV Equity Acts (Senate Bill 957 and 1000), and the Clean Bus and Truck Program (Senate Bill 1403).

California Cooling Act (Senate Bill 1013)

SB 1013 preserves Obama Administration targets for removing dangerous super pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from refrigerants after a federal court struck them down last year. A single supermarket releases HFCs equivalent to 300 cars each year.

The passage of SB 1013 provides a model for other states to follow to prevent backsliding on the phase down of these powerful pollutants. The state of New York and Maryland followed California’s lead this week to phase down HFCs, which are one of the most dangerous sources of air pollution.

Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the U.N. Environment hosted Climate and Clean Air Coalition, said; “Governor Brown’s signing of the California Cooling Act will have positive impacts far beyond California by encouraging the global supply chain to adopt less-polluting and more energy-efficient cooling technologies. This bill will drive innovation, is good for business, and helps protect our planet. California is becoming a world champion in the super pollutant field.”

ZEV Equity (Senate Bill 957 and Senate Bill 1000)
SB 957 creates the first-ever high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lane sticker program for used vehicles for those who earn 80% or less of the median income. Under the current HOV sticker program, only new ZEVs are eligible, limiting the capacity for the incentive to promote ZEVs in low income communities and among long-distance commuters.

SB 1000 requires the state to assess whether vehicle-charging infrastructure, including fast-charging access, is deployed fairly by income level, population density, and geographical area. It also requires publicly funded charging stations to be accessible to all electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids.

Clean Trucks and Buses (Senate Bill 1403)

SB 1403 strengthens investments in the landmark Clean Truck and Bus Program, which Senator Lara created with SB 1204 in 2014 to ensure that clean trucks, buses, and off road vehicles remain a priority at this time when the market is rapidly developing.

Senator Lara introduced SB 1013 last year at the U.N. Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, where he and Governor Brown received the first-ever 2017 U.N. Climate and Clean Air Award for their groundbreaking work to create California’s short-lived climate pollutant strategy and emissions reduction targets. Super pollutants like black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are much more potent than carbon dioxide, and Senator Lara has authored the only state-level super-pollutant policies in the country.

Senator Lara introduced the ZEV Equity bills to support the state’s goal of 5 million low emission cars by 2030. HOV stickers are a strong incentive for buyers of electric vehicles, according to researchers at UC Davis.

About Senator Ricardo Lara:

Senator Lara is one of California’s most effective environmental champions, passing laws that keep California at the forefront of confronting global climate change. He serves as a legislative member of the California Air Resources Board and was part of the legislative delegation at the U.N. COP21 Paris (2015) and COP23 Bonn (2017) Climate Conferences.

Senator Lara authored Senate Bill 605 in 2014, initiating a short-lived climate pollutant strategy, and Senate Bill 1383 in 2016, known as the Super Pollutant Reduction Act, setting the nation’s toughest SLCP reduction standards: 50% reduction of black carbon and 40% reduction in methane and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions by 2030.

To achieve California’s super pollutant reduction targets, Sen. Lara authored legislation establishing incentive programs that reduce black carbon emissions by phasing out old, inefficient woodstoves and reduce HFC emissions by replacing existing equipment. Over the last three years, Sen. Lara successfully advocated for more than $300 million to reduce methane emissions from dairies and waste streams, making California the only state government to pursue a substantial methane reduction program.

Senator Lara also authored Senate Bill 30 (2018), which will recommend innovative insurance mechanisms investing in natural infrastructure such as forests and wetlands. This is similar to examples from around the world where communities insure mangroves and coral reefs, protecting them from the ongoing impact of climate change.

Sen. Lara’s clean truck and bus policies have strengthened regulations and focused investments to accelerate the transition away from diesel. Sen. Lara authored Senate Bills 1204 and 1403, creating the California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program and accelerating the deployment of low-emission trucks, buses, and clean freight technology. He successfully advocated for the single largest investment in clean air in California’s history – nearly $1 billion from the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce diesel exhaust – and one of the most significant commitments to mobile source pollution reduction in the state’s history.

Sen. Lara’s legislation protects our coasts and rivers and repairs the damage caused by oil drilling. Sen. Lara jointly authored Senate Bill 270, banning single-use plastic bags in California – the first state to do so. To address the environmental and health impacts of oil drilling, Sen. Lara authored legislation funding the cleanup of abandoned oil wells, and he jointly authored Senate Bill 834, blocking federal expansion of offshore oil wells in California waters. Sen. Lara’s Senate Bill 1374 created the first park district in California in decades to revitalize the lower Los Angeles River and bring green space back to the communities of Southeast Los Angeles.