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California legislature approves greenhouse gas restrictions

[JURIST] California's State Assembly [official website] passed the nation's first bill to restrict greenhouse gas [EPA backgrounder] emissions Thursday, by a vote of 46-31. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 [text] grants new authority to the California Air Resources Board [official website] to set specific emission targets for various industries and set fees to raise money for new emission reduction initiatives. The state's largest polluters, such as power plants and cement manufacturers, will be required to report their emissions.

The Air Resources Board is an 11-member body, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Members [board member profiles] must include five members from the state's regional air boards; one with automotive or engineering expertise; one with a background in science, agriculture or law; one in the medical profession; one with expertise in air pollution; and two members from the general public.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website; JURIST news archive] has promised to sign the bill [press release], saying the measure "strengthens our economy, cleans our environment and once again, establishes California as the leader in environmental protection." Although other states have considered similar measures [JURIST report], California's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent before 2020 is the first successful effort by a US state to pass a bill aimed at curbing global warming. The San Francisco Chronicle has local coverage.

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