Apr 13 - AB 32 Early Action Measure Update

In a previous entry (When an Early Action Measure Isn't) we highlighted that there is a gap in the state's Early Action Measure strategy. We noted that under AB 32, an "Early Action Measure" is by definition only a regulation adopted by the ARB that meets certain specified requirements. The ARB has been having a series of meetings to discuss a relatively short list of proposed AB 32 Early Action Measures. Measures that do not meet the definition of an Early Action Measure have been referred to the appropriate implementing agency.

This narrow definition of Early Action Measure raises a series of questions about the statewide early adoption strategy. Where does this leave the CIWMB, or the rest of the state boards and agencies with respect to early action measures, and who is ensuring they are doing their part? How do non-ARB agencies get the authority necessary to implement Early Action Measures?

The state Climate Action Team (CAT) is led by Linda Adams, Secretary of Cal/EPA, and is comprised of the Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, Department of Food and Agriculture, Resources Agency, the Chairperson of the Air Resources Board, Energy Commission and the President of the Public Utilities Commission.

The purpose of the Climate Action team is to implement programs to ensure California reaches its GHG emission reduction goals. Thus, it is the CAT that is primarily responsible for coordinating AB 32 implementation with the Governor’s executive order and ensuring that all the state boards and agencies are doing their part to implement early action measures to reduce GHG emissions.

Each non-ARB agency has been asked to create an early action measure strategy to augment those being adopted by the ARB under AB 32. The CAT has been having a series of meetings regarding Early Action Measures where non-ARB agencies have been participating. While some of these measures could be adopted under ARB authority as a regulation, most do not technically qualify as Early Action Measures under AB 32. Nonetheless, they would play a critical role in the state’s overall plan to reduce GHG emissions.

At the last CAT meeting, Chairwoman Brown of the CIWMB announced a series of Early Action Measures (EAM) to be explored by the Board. The list included both landfill-based and recycling-based measures. While the ARB has indicated that it may adopt one or more EAM to reduce GHG emissions from landfills, the CIWMB does not have the necessary authority to fully implement many of its other identified EAMs.

The CIWMB is not alone in this predicament. Many other boards and agencies do not have authority to implement measures to reduce GHG emissions. The CAT needs to aggressively tackle this issue and find a solution that allows agencies to implement the necessary measures to reduce GHG emissions. In some cases, the ARB may be able to stretch its AB 32 authority to take on regulations outside of its historical jurisdiction, but in most cases, implementing agencies will need additional legislative authority. If these measures are to be implemented as early action measures, this process must be expedited to determine where the additional authority is needed and how it will be provided.

Next steps:

  • On April 23th, the ARB will hold its next EAM workshop. There will be opportunity for public input regarding EAMs.
  • On May 8th, the CIWMB will hold a special workshop focused on Early Action Measures to reduce GHG emissions.