This Labor Day gave us more to celebrate than just a three-day weekend (though that was pretty great) -- it also marked the end of California's 2012 legislative session and the passage of three Global Green-supported bills that are now awaiting the Governor's signature. Better yet, all three bills strive to protect the environment and increase investments to schools and disadvantaged communities, a concept pioneered by Global Green in California's landmark Global Warming law, AB 32, passed in 2006. Assembly Bill 1532, authored by Los Angeles Assembly Speaker John Perez, and Senate Bill 535, authored by Los Angeles Senator Kevin de Leon, will use revenue from California's much-anticipated cap-and-trade program to invest in projects for energy efficiency and sustainable transportation and housing infrastructure for disadvantaged communities. Such projects would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maximize economic, environmental, and public health benefits. It is estimated that between $600 million to $1 billion will be collected in auction revenue for 2012-2013, so even a small percentage of this money could lead to significant benefits.
AB 1186, authored by Berkeley Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, will provide funding for the California Energy Commission’s Bright Schools Program. This program provides grants to K-12 public schools for energy efficiency improvements and building retrofits. Under this bill, funding priority will be given to schools based on a variety of factors including the age of the school facilities and the school's proportion of low-income students.
Global Green worked extensively with a network of nonprofit organizations on incorporating language in these bills to protect our most vulnerable communities and achieve real energy savings. While we're pleased that all three bills passed, we still need the Governor's signature before September 30. Please sign our letter to Governor Brown and join us in urging him to sign all three bills.