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Krekorian defends energy bill

September 19, 2009|By Zain Shauk

NORTHRIDGE — Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian fired back Wednesday at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other critics of his legislation that would force utilities to produce a third of their energy from in-state renewable sources by 2020.

Krekorian argued that the details of his bill, along with a package of other related bills, have been clouded with misinformation and would address the concerns of the governor and apprehensive power companies.

Utilities, including Glendale Water & Power and Burbank Water and Power, have worried that the bill would not allow them to count power used from green plants in other states toward the quotas, instead requiring them to invest in developing plants within California.

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Utility officials have said the requirement would be cost-prohibitive and unfair.

“I just fundamentally disagree with them on the facts,” Krekorian said.

Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he would veto the package, including Krekorian’s Assembly Bill 64 and state Sen. Jose Simitian’s Senate Bill 14, opting to instead order the California Air Resources Board to develop a set of regulations that would establish a similar mandate, but without provisions that he called overly complex and protectionist.

“It makes us less competitive,” Schwarzenegger said of the legislation at a news conference Tuesday. “It kills jobs. It would drive up the rates. It is terrible legislation.”

The governor has not yet vetoed the bills, leaving the door open for the possibility of a negotiated solution, although his statements Tuesday made the chances of an agreement seem unlikely, Krekorian said.

Schwarzenegger had called on lawmakers to draft bills establishing the 33% target for renewable energy production, but the bills approved by lawmakers included an especially problematic provision that would have limited the amount of green power from out-of-state plants that utilities could count toward their quotas, the governor said.

“It is protectionism to the highest level,” he said. “I mean, you have to understand that we get our water from outside California. We get it from the Colorado River, for instance. Why can we get the water from the Colorado River, but we can’t get renewable energy from outside the state?”

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