Thursday, at its meeting in Sacramento, the League board of directors deferred taking action at this time on recommended revisions to the League’s current positions on AB 32 and SB 375 concerning climate change.

The deferred recommendations urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to delay certain deadlines and take other actions with respect to AB 32. They also recommended that the Legislature suspend or delay the implementation of SB 375 until state funding is provided for the implementation of its mandates.

The effect of the action is to retain current League policies on AB 32 (No Position) and SB 375 (Support) until the League board changes them at a later date.

Contrary to some inaccurate news accounts, the League board did not vote at its meeting this week to support AB 32. The League has consistently retained a “No Position” stance on the law since it was enacted in 2006 because its provisions largely do not affect cities directly. However, after its enactment almost four years ago, the League adopted principles urging cities to take immediate local actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“Cities across the state are leaders in addressing the threats posed by climate change, adopting climate change action plans, using alternative fuels to power city facilities and vehicles, and planning for future development with climate change in mind,” observed League President and Hemet Council Member Robin Lowe. “City leaders know private businesses are struggling in the current recession, and we are pleased the Governor is paying close attention to the effects of proposed actions under AB 32 on businesses and the economy in general. The League will continue to work with him and ARB to make sure the implementation of AB 32 is done with respect for the challenges facing our private employers who are key to the recovery of our economy and to ensure that the cost of SB 375 is not shifted to city governments.”

The League’s policy of support for SB 375 was not changed by its board this week. In 2008, the League supported this law which requires regional planning organizations to prepare regional sustainable communities’ strategies in order to identify areas in which future CEQA relief and transportation incentives will be made available to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The League’s support of SB 375 at that time was contingent on the state keeping its promise to fund the cost of these regional strategies rather than shift them to struggling cities, which it has not done to date. The board directed League staff to continue to press for state funding and to work closely with other stakeholders to hold the state to its commitment,” said League Executive Director Chris McKenzie following the meeting.