SACRAMENTO — Ignoring pleas of carmakers and business groups, a key state Senate committee passed a bill Monday to curb global warming by further reducing California tailpipe emissions after 2009.
The Senate Appropriations Commission voted 8-3 to approve the bill, AB1508, and send it to the Senate floor for a vote.
The Assembly passed the bill Jan. 31.
The bill, sponsored by environmental groups and carried by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, asks the California Air Resources Board to write regulations reducing carbon dioxide emissions by January 2005. Backers say approximately 23 million vehicles contribute 60 percent of California’s so-called “greenhouse gases” attributed to global warming.
The bill would apply to new cars and light trucks and not to commercial vehicles.
Monday’s vote followed testy exchanges between a lobbyist for car dealers who labeled the bill a “physical abomination,” and committee Democrats who called automakers “obstructionists.”
“When I was in Congress in the seventies, I had a hearing on air bags and the industry was in there like you were going to steal their first born,” said Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco. Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey, lectured carmakers to drop their lawyers and lobbyists and hire engineers to “make a better car.”
Peter Welch, representing the California Motor Car Dealers Association, said the bill will provide “no climate benefits for California” and result only in “additional costs.”