Assemblyman steers clear of sticky summit situation
It would have made for a delicate situation: a panel on California’s alternative energy future, featuring a state Assembly member who has been vocally questioning part of the state’s landmark emissions-reducing program.
Lauded by environmentalists and many California Democrats for its groundbreaking plan to reduce carbon emissions, the first-in-the-nation effort requires industry to purchase permits for the greenhouse gases they put into the air.
So far, producers of transportation fuels like gasoline have not been included in the program. But that is about to change, prompting warnings about higher prices at the pump. Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, has led the charge with a bill to forestall including gas for a few years.
Perea has said he supports the cap-and-trade program’s overall goal of reducing emissions. But he argues a spike in gas prices would be harmful across the Central Valley, where unemployment hovers above the statewide rate.
Averting a potentially awkward scenario, Perea withdrew from a panel discussion planned as part of Advanced Energy Economy’s Sacramento summit. He cited a scheduling conflict.
“I wanted to get it all done in the first term … But then I decided, whoops, a couple more things to do.”