On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order in attempts to roll-back former President Barack Obama’s legislation aimed to curb global warming.
The order suspends, rescinds or flags for review more than a half-dozen measures on power plant emissions limits, coal mining on federal lands, and regulations on fracking and methane.
It will not, however, have much, if any, impact on the Central Valley anytime soon.
“The main thing to keep in mind is this is not going to happen very quickly,” said Dave Clegern, California Air Resources Board public information officer. “Most of what the president set in motion today will take considerable time, so impacts here – and many other places – won’t be seen quickly.”
As part of the roll-back, Trump initiated a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The Obama-era plan would cut emissions by almost a third from 2005 levels by 2030 while saving billions of dollars and thousands of lives from air pollution, according to CARB.
“As far as the Clean Power Plan, California was already ahead of that,” Clegern said.
The plan required individual states to address climate change, of which California has already surpassed.
Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 32, committing California to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
On Thursday, CARB approved another rule to further improve air quality for California residents: the oil and gas rule.
The new regulation is aimed at curbing emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas that regularly escapes from oil and gas operations.
CARB said it will reduce methane leaks by the equivalent of 1.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year.
“The Trump administration has backed away from efforts to develop a federal rule to curb methane leaks from existing facilities — the nation’s largest source of methane pollution,” said CARB Chair Mary Nichols, Thursday. “California’s regulations continue our leadership in fighting air pollutants and help meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”
For now, California is set to continue its preventative efforts, Clergen said.
“We think this is a bad move, but the federal government has the right to review it’s rules,” he said. “California will just keep going.”
San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District declined to comment on the executive order and its effects on the Central Valley.
San Joaquin Valley and renewable energy
•Construction of renewable energy projects has generated $11.6 billion in economic activity in California’s San Joaquin Valley
•Renewable energy programs created about 31,000 direct jobs in the valley and another 57,000 indirect jobs from 2002 to 2015.
•The San Joaquin Valley is home to 24 percent of the state’s solar energy generation and 54 percent of its wind generation.
Information provided by California Air Resources Board
Trump’s Climate Policy Roll-Back Won’t Impact Central Valley, by Calley Cederlof, Visalia Times-Delta, March 28, 2017.