Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) issued the following statement today after opposing renewal of the State Air Resources Board's Cap-and-Trade program:
"Climate change is an immediate and significant threat to our planet, but AB 398 disproportionately impacts the poorest Californians, many of whom live in my district, while leaving clean energy sources like hydro out of the equation.
"If you live and work in the Central Valley, you have a different attitude toward rising fuel and energy costs than our neighbors along the coast. Studies have demonstrated that our fuel and housing costs as a proportion of income are already greater than even the Bay Area. The Assembly, Senate, and the Administration had the opportunity to address some of these inequities but failed to do so.
"According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analysis Office, the renewed Cap-and-Trade plan will raise gas prices by nearly $1 per gallon. My constituents are tired of bearing the brunt of policies that leave the most economically disadvantaged behind."
Since Assembly Bill 32 was passed more than 10 years ago, Sacramento has failed to make good on promises to invest in disadvantaged communities. Instead, Cap-and-Trade has served as a tax on the working families of Merced, Ceres, Los Banos and communities like them. It has increased the price of gasoline and energy which has a disproportionate impact on people living in the hot summers and cold winters of inland California. All the while, the temperate coast is spared higher utility bills while driving electric cars subsidized by the state.
"I will continue to fight for the Valley to receive its fair share. As a region, we must continue to make our voices heard. We cannot, and will not, sit idly by as special interests let political ideology trump good policy. California has promised to be a leader on climate change, but we are leading down a path no one will follow."