California Capitol Hill Bulletin

Volume 14, Bulletin 31 -- September 28, 2007     [view online]  [or see pdf version]  [or go to previous bulletin]


To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state.  Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods.  To subscribe to the Bulletin or other California Institute announcements, visit this link.


CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:

Congress Clears FY 07 Funding CR

Senate Clears WRDA For President With Votes To Spare

House, Senate Pass SCHIP Renewal and Expansion

Ways And Means “Approves” Peru Agreement In Mock Markup Session

House Water & Power Subcommittee Considers Regional Water Bills

House Education and Labor Committee Examines STEM Competitiveness

House Financial Services Committee Marks Up Housing Legislation

Senate Energy Committee Assesses Wildfire Activity

Senate Environment and Public Works Discusses Green Jobs

House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Addresses New Starts and Small Starts Programs

California’s Public Higher Education Leaders Brief Capitol Hill Audience Re Impact on State of Federal Financial Aid Programs

Los Angeles Unified School District Briefing on NCLB & ELL Students

Two October 4 Briefings To Highlight California’s Climate Program; Boxer to Open Senate Session, With House-side Luncheon to Follow



Congress Clears FY 07 Funding CR

   On Wednesday, September 26, 2007, the House passed, 404-14, the first continuing resolution (H.J.Res 52) of the year to keep the government funded through November 16, 2007. Current federal funding will run out at midnight on September 30, the last day of fiscal year 2007. The Senate subsequently cleared the resolution on Thursday evening, sending it to the President’s desk for signature.

   The CR is necessary because none of the 12 fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills has been enacted. The House has cleared all 12 bills, but the Senate has only passed four of them and none have been conferenced.

   In addition to keeping federal funds flowing at the FY 2007 level, the CR also includes $5.2 billion in emergency spending for military equipment, a three-month extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to aid workers displaced by global trade, and a short extension of the SCHIP health care program for low-income children, thereby buying negotiating time while Congress continues to consider the legislation.


Senate Clears WRDA For President With Votes To Spare

   By a veto-proof vote of 81-12, the Senate on September 25, 2007 adopted the conference report to accompany the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), H.R. 1495. The House also overwhelmingly passed the legislation by a vote of 381-40 on August 1st.

   The bill, with an estimated price tag of $11.2 billion for FY 2008 through FY 2012, and another $12 billion for the following 10 years, authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct over 900 national flood control, navigation, and environmental restoration projects and studies. The White House has threatened to veto the bill because of its costs but -- given the lopsided votes on the conference report -- House and Senate leaders are confident Congress could override a veto if it came to that.

   Proponents of H.R. 1495 emphasized that a comprehensive water projects bill has not been passed in seven years and that that partially explains the number of projects approved. Moreover, the bill represents only an authorization -- appropriations have to be passed to fund specific projects.

   In praising passage of the legislation, Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee stated: “This is a truly bipartisan bill that meets our communities’ and our nation’s water infrastructure needs and it does it in a fiscally responsible way. Some of the communities this bill will protect have waited years for these projects – and many of them are vital to protecting lives and communities from floods and storms.”

   Among the major California authorizations in the bill are:

   - over $600 million to improve flood protection for Sacramento including $444 million for a flood control project on the American and Sacramento Rivers and construction of an auxiliary spillway associated with Folsom Dam;

   - $1.8 billion for flood control along the Santa Ana River;

   - $52.4 million for flood damage reduction and environmental restoration in Hamilton City, Glenn County;

   - $144.5 million for environmental restoration of Matilija Dam, Ventura County;

   - $134.5 million for environmental restoration, Napa River Salt Marsh Restoration; and

   - $30 million for a study to determine the feasibility of environmental pilot projects for Salton Sea restoration

   The legislation also contains comprehensive reform provisions that establish requirements for independent reviews of Army Corps projects and will expedite the process for de-authorizing unbuilt projects that are obsolete or no longer necessary.

   For further information, go to: http://epw.senate.gov .


House, Senate Pass SCHIP Renewal and Expansion

   On September 25, 2007, the House passed H.R. 976, a bill reauthorizing and expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) Program. The House approved the measure by a 265 to 159 margin, after agreeing to accept Senate amendments.

   Meanwhile, on September 27, 2007 ,the Senate voted 69-30 to invoke cloture and limit debate on the measure paving the way for a final vote, which finally took place later in the day. The Senate’s 67-29 final vote on passage would be sufficient to override a threatened veto by President Bush, but the House’s final passage tally falls fourteen votes short of the threshold needed to override. Despite that narrow shortfall, many consider an override showdown likely if the measure is returned without signature.

   The bill would expand SCHIP by $35 billion over the next five years, bringing the total cumulative price tag to $60 billion. The expansion would be financed by tobacco tax increases, including a 61-cent hike in the cigarette tax to $1 per pack. At present, SCHIP covers about 6 million children who are low-income but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the expansion would nearly double the number of covered children, enrolling approximately 5.8 million more in SCHIP and Medicaid.

   The formula for calculating SCHIP reimbursement is similar to the formula for Medicaid, except that all states receive a somewhat higher matching rate. The minimum reimbursement (the amount the federal government pays states for each health care dollar spent) is 50 cents for Medicaid and 65 cents for SCHIP. Because of the state’s relatively high per capita income levels, California is at the statutory minimums for each program.

   In addition to the expansion language, the SCHIP legislation also includes a provision that would pare back the 2006 Congressional mandate requiring that Medicaid applicants provide documentary proof they are U.S. citizens. The bill shifts the burden and allows states to presume Medicaid and SCHIP applicants are legal if their Social Security numbers are deemed valid by the Social Security Administration.

   For more additional information regarding this week’s floor action, visit: http://www.house.gov or http://www.senate.gov .


Ways And Means “Approves” Peru Agreement In Mock Markup Session

   By voice vote, the House Ways and Means Committee gave its approval by voice vote to the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during a “mock” mark-up on September 25, 2007. Under the fast-track rules of the Trade Promotion Authority Act, Congress cannot amend the FTA, so the “mock” session allows the Committee to express its recommendations to the Administration before the Agreement is formally submitted to Congress, triggering expedited consideration.

   The Peru FTA is the first one to be acted on since Democrats, Republicans, and the White House negotiated a new model for U.S. trade agreements to include basic labor standards, stronger environmental provisions and other key provisions. The Panama, Colombia and South Korea Free Trade Agreements, which also were negotiated recently, will incorporate the new model for U.S. Free Trade Agreements as well.

   The Administration signed the Peru FTA in April 2006. The Senate approved it by a vote of 18-3 in a mock markup on September 21, 2007.

   Despite the bipartisan support for the bill, some Members are trying to garner opposition to the bill because of concerns over the impact of globalization and U.S. trade policy on U.S. workers. During the markup, Chair Charlie Rangel (NY) said: "Being on this Committee means that we have the awesome responsibility to admit that, if we are not in trade, we are losing. Globalization is here and it is not a union, non-union, liberal or conservative issue, it is an issue as to what is good for the American worker and the international community. Our membership on this Committee means that we will have to do things that at times will not be as popular as we would like them to be.”

   For more information on the U.S.-Peru FTA, go to: http://waysandmeans.house.gov .


House Water & Power Subcommittee Considers Regional Water Bills

   The House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, chaired by Rep. Grace Napolitano (Norwalk) held a hearing on September 25, 2007 to assess three bills concerning regional water needs. H.R. 123 was introduced by Rep. David Dreier (San Dimas), as well as Reps. Gary Miller ( Diamond Bar), Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard (Los Angeles) Linda Sanchez (Lakewood), Adam Schiff (Burbank), and Hilda Solis (El Monte). It would increase the authorization for the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund by $50 million from its current level of $85 million.

   H.R. 2498 is sponsored by the Central Valley Representatives, Jim Costa (Fresno), George Radanovich (Mariposa), Dennis Cardoza (Atwater), Devin Nunes (Tulare), and Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield). It provides for a study regarding development of a comprehensive integrated regional water management plan that would address four general areas of regional water planning in both the San Joaquin River Hydrologic Region and the Tulare Lake Hydrologic Region, inclusive of Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties, and provide that the plan be the guide those counties use as a mechanism to address and solve long-term water needs in a sustainable and equitable manner.

   Finally, H.R. 2535 was introduced by Rep. Nunes, and co-sponsored by Rep. Costa. It provides for a study of the feasibility and suitability of constructing a storage reservoir, outlet works, and a delivery system for the Tule River Indian Tribe of California to provide additional water supply.

   Michael Whitehead, President of the San Gabriel Valley Water Company, and Board member of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority in West Covina, and Donald Jensen, the Director of Public Works in Santa Fe Springs testified in support of H.R. 123. Testifying in support of H.R. 2498 were Sargeant "Sarge" Green, Manager of the Westside Resource Conservation District and a consultant to the California Water Institute in Fresno, Richard M. Moss, P.E., of Provost & Pritchard Engineering Group, Inc., Visalia.

   Alec Garfield, Director, Water Resources Department, Tule River Tribal Council, Porterville, and Philip Gregg Larson, President, South Tule Independent Ditch Company, Porterville testified in support of the Tule River Tribe Water Development Act.

   Robert Quint, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation testified against both H.R. 123 and H.R. 2498, citing primarily the Bureau’s scarce budget resources.

   For the testimony of all the witnesses, go to: http://www.resourcescommittee.house.gov .


House Education and Labor Committee Examines STEM Competitiveness

   On September 21, 2007, the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness held a field hearing at California Polytechnic University Pomona. The hearing, entitled “Examining Competitiveness Through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)” focused on a number of competitiveness issues, including work force preparation, global STEM competition, and possible avenues for Federal assistants in STEM programs.

   Testifying at the hearing was Dr. Charles Reed, Chancellor of the California State University. Other witnesses at the hearing included Dr. Warren Baker, President of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Dr. Marshall Drummond, Chancellor of Los Angeles Community College District; Todd Ullah, Director of the Department of Science at the Los Angeles Unified School District; and Dr. Susan Hackwood, Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology and Professor of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside.

   In his testimony, Dr. Reed commented, “The most basic foundation for any advances in STEM fields is having sufficient numbers of well-qualified mathematics and science teachers.” He pointed out that, “Close to sixty percent of the teachers credentialed in California (and ten percent of the nation’s teachers) each year are prepared by the CSU,” and he highlighted his commitment to doubling the number of mathematics and science teachers prepared by the CSU by 2009-10. Dr. Reed outlined the CSU’s “Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative” (MSTI), including its seven component parts:

 - Comprehensive Recruitment Aimed at Expanding and Diversifying the Pool of Candidates

 - Creation of New Credential Pathways

 - Internet-Supported Delivery of Instruction

 - Collaboration with Community Colleges

 - Financial Support and Incentives

 - Identifying and Scaling-Up Approaches Having Significant Potential

 - Partnerships with Federal Laboratories, Business and Industry

In conclusion, Dr. Reed summarized that, “Preparing an outstanding teaching force and making CSU a route of access for underrepresented students are guiding visions underlying our priorities as a system.”

   A few of the key points made by other witnesses and by the Committee in conjunction with the hearing include:

   - Approximately 69,000 middle school students are enrolled in Algebra 1 classes where the teacher is under-prepared or teaching out-of-field. Students in schools that are predominantly minority are four times as likely to have under-prepared mathematics and science teachers as students in schools with few minority students

   - The proportion of U.S. bachelor degrees conferred in science and engineering disciplines remained relatively constant over the past two decades (about one-third of the total), but the proportion of degrees granted in engineering declined from seven percent to five percent during that period

   - California will need a growing number of college-educated workers in coming decades, but is falling short in meeting this demand. According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), by 2020 fully 75 percent of jobs will require at least some college but only 61 percent of the workforce will have achieved that level of education, and 39 percent of jobs will require a college degree but only 33 percent of workers will have attained one

   - The nation needs to make science an assessment component of the No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress for schools and districts to bulk up the accountability to measure science progress in our schools

   - Nationwide, community colleges have low degree-completion rates. In fact, many students leave with no new qualifications: no degrees and often no credits.

   Dr. Hackwood of CCST estimated that 54% of new science teacher hires and 66% of new math teacher hires do not a hold a full or preliminary credential. Furthermore, in next decade, California will face a shortage of fully prepared science and math teachers due to attrition and retirement.

   For more information, please visit: http://edlabor.house.gov .


House Financial Services Committee Marks Up Housing Legislation

   On September 25 and 26, 2007, the House Financial Services Committee marked up four bills which addressed housing issues. H.R. 3521, the Public Housing Asset Management Improvement Act of 2007, was passed by voice vote with two amendments. That measure would make several changes to the HOPE VI program, which helps repair public housing, including adding tenant protections and a one-for-one replacement requirement for all public housing units proposed for demolition.

   H.R. 2930, the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act of 2007, was passed by a voice vote with one amendment. The bill amends the Housing Act of 1959 regarding project rental assistance for supportive housing for the elderly, changes from discretionary to mandatory the annual amount of a contract for project rental assistance to provide for reasonable project costs, allows a national private nonprofit organization that owns multiple housing projects assisted under such Act to satisfy the local governing board requirement, and Amends the American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act of 2000.

   H.R. 3355, the Homeowners’ Defense Act of 2007 aims at bolstering homeowners’ insurance markets in the event of a natural disaster. The legislation would set up a consortium of state-sponsored insurance funds that would be able to pool their risk voluntarily and issue bonds to finance the program. It also would establish a federal direct loan program to help a state insurance fund cover its liabilities if its coffers were depleted — a so-called bridge loan. On September 26, the panel voted, 36 to 27, to approve the measure. The bill was passed with two minor amendments adopted by voice vote. An amendment that would have scrapped the proposal and replaced it with a blue ribbon commission was defeated, 22 to 32.

   H.R. 3524, the HOPE VI Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2007, was also reported favorably to the House with two amendments by voice vote. The bill will add tenant protections and a one-for-one replacement requirement to the HOPE VI program, which helps repair and rebuild dilapidated public housing. The legislation will also require public housing agencies to create mixed-income housing on the sites of demolished low-income housing. Other units developed to replace demolished housing would have to be built in areas with low concentrations of poverty. The White House has sought to end the program for the past five years. The panel accepted an amendment by Rep. Maxine Waters (Los Angeles) by voice vote that would require public housing authorities to coordinate projects with the school calendar so displaced children would not have to transfer schools. The panel also approved a second amendment by voice vote that would allow displaced tenants to receive Section 8 tenant-based vouchers.

   For more information, please visit: http://financialservices.house.gov .


Senate Energy Committee Assesses Wildfire Activity

   On September 24, 2007, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a full-committee hearing to consider scientific assessments of the impacts of global climate change on wildfire activity in the United States. The hearing focused on wildfire preparation, data indicating changes in wildfires due to climate change, the future of wildfire programs, and potential wildfire threats. The Government Accountability Office reported that a group of experts convened by it and the National Academies of Sciences generally agreed that the scientific community has reached consensus that climate change will cause forest fires to grow in size and severity. A number of studies predict that global warming will increase the number of acres-burned by wildfires in the United States by 25-75 percent by the middle of this century. Alaska, the Southeast, the Southwest and the Northern Rockies appear to be at particularly high-risk. Along with rising temperatures, Federal wildland fire spending has more than tripled in less than 10 years, rising from less than $800 million in 1996 to $3 billion.

   A few key points from the hearing include:

   - Forest Service climate change research priorities involve three areas: adaptation (increase forest stress resilience); mitigation (increasing carbon sequestration through storage in soils, living plants and wood products); and decision support for practitioners and policymakers

   - The largest changes in temperature are projected for high latitudes in both the northern and southern hemispheres; however, water has a moderating effect on changes in temperature and precipitation; hence the northern hemisphere, with its relatively larger land mass, will likely see more frequent and intense weather patterns

   - Increasing numbers of large forest fires and total area burned in the western United States are significantly correlated with warming and drying trends

   - Historical land uses and management practices disrupted natural fire patterns in many western forests about a century ago, and these changes have led to dense forests and fuel accumulations that are also contributing to unusually large and severe fires in some places

   - Natural climate oscillations (for example the El Niño-Southern Oscillation) have also affected fire activity, but they do not fully explain the recent surge in burning

   - Studies using coupled global circulation and wildfire models consistently predict increased burning under scenarios of future increased greenhouse gas concentrations

   For more information, please visit: http://energy.senate.gov .


Senate Environment and Public Works Discusses Green Jobs

   On Tuesday, September 25, 2007, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer, held a full committee hearing entitled “Green Jobs Created by Global Warming Initiatives.”

   A study completed this August by the University of California, Berkeley projected that meeting the caps from AB32, California’s landmark global warming legislation, could boost Gross State Product in 2020 by up to$74 billion, creating 89,000 new jobs in California. Using this model, the Committee sought to evaluate potential job growth and economic growth from federal global warming initiatives. The Committee heard testimony from economists, scientists, experts and academics, including Daniel Kammen Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at University of California, Berkeley.

   Some of the main points discussed by Mr. Kammen included:

   - An economy built around a suite of low-carbon technologies can be resistant to price shocks, secure against supply disruptions, and inclusive of diverse socioeconomic groups

   - Clean energy systems and energy efficiency investments also contribute directly to energy security and to domestic job growth versus off-shore migration

   - On the important issue of transportation a set of European nations have followed the lead of California, Illinois and other U. S. states in adopting a Low Carbon Fuel Standard

   - A biofuel industry would create jobs and ensure growing energy supplies to support national and global prosperity; and

   - Generating local employment – including that in inner-cities, rural communities, and in areas in need of economic stimulus – through the deployment of local and sustainable energy technologies is an important and underutilized way to enhance national security and international stability

   For more information, please visit: http://epw.senate.gov .


House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Addresses New Starts and Small Starts Programs

   On September 26, 2007, the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing entitled “The Federal Transit Administration’s Proposed Rule on the New Starts and Small Starts Program.” The purpose of the hearing was to receive testimony on the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) proposed rule on the New Starts and Small Starts Programs.

   The New Starts and Small Starts programs are the Federal government’s primary method of supporting transit capital investments for the construction of new transit systems and extensions to existing transit systems. These programs include subways, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. The Small Starts program was created in 2005 by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equality Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

   The following are a few key issues from the hearing:

   - Since the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, the FTA has provided nearly $13.7 billion in New Starts funds to help build 27 light rail, 19 commuter and heavy rail, and a number of streetcar, bus, and other transit projects

   - SAFETEA-LU includes formal establishment of a streamlined Small Starts program for projects requesting less than $75 million in Federal Capital Program funds with a total cost of not more than $250 million

   - The FTA has proposed to lock into regulation giving cost effectiveness in the New Starts project review and evaluation process a 50% weight; the remaining 50% would be allotted for “effectiveness,” mobility benefits, land use, economic development and environmental benefits

   - Transit ridership is at a 40-year high; since 1990, ridership has increased 11.5% with three-quarters of the growth coming from rail systems

   - There is a growing concern, whether real or perceived, that including a full range of amenities, streetscape improvements, and pedestrian safety enhancements in a proposed transit project will jeopardize Federal funding; yet these are the very features that help maximize walking trips to transit and create high value urbanism

   - Local concern over meeting the federal Cost Effectiveness Index has lead some communities to shortchange the number of transit stations, rail cars, or corridor enhancements that would help meet or even exceed 20 year ridership projections

   For more information, please visit: http://transportation.house.gov .


State’s Public Higher Education Leaders Brief Capitol Hill Audience Re Impact of Federal Financial Aid Programs

   On Wednesday, September 26, 2007, experts representing the state's three public postsecondary institutions -- the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California -- and EdFund (the non-profit organization that administers California's participation in the federal guaranteed student loan program) visited Capitol Hill to present a briefing regarding federal financial aid programs and their impact on California.

   The briefing, sponsored by the California Institute, sought to sort out how student loan programs and other federal financial aid resources affect the more than 3 million students are currently enrolled in California's public colleges and universities. At present, a wide range of federal financial aid programs -- from Pell Grants to student loans to work study -- provide billions of dollars in assistance to California students each year.

   Changes in the federal laws governing such programs have a profound effect on our students and our state. The 110th Congress has recently passed legislation that will significantly impact California, and major additional proposals are on the table.

   The luncheon briefing featured remarks by Anne McKinney, for the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges; Allison Jones, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the California State University; Carolyn Henrich, Legislative Director for Education for the University of California in the Office of Federal Governmental Relations; and Dr. Samuel M. Kipp, President of EdFund, one of the nation's leading providers of student loan guarantee services through the Federal Family Education Loan Program.

   Ms. McKinney thanked the California Congressional delegation for finally eliminating the tuition sensitivity provision that had reduced Pell Grant payments to CCC students, and she focused on the importance of the Academic Competitiveness Grant Program (ACG).

   Mr. Jones outlined the CSU’s unique characteristics and noted on some of its priorities, including support for and expansion of Pell Grants, early intervention programs (GEAR UP and TRIO), and Hispanic Serving Institutions, as well as and shifting the inequitable “base guarantee” formula for the Campus-based Aid (CBA) programs.

   Ms. Henrich described the function and importance of of “expected family contribution” in calculating students’ eligibility for financial aid and loans. She noted that California’s housing and real estate costs significantly affect the ability of California students to receive aid..

   Lastly Dr. Kipp explained the structure, status, and operation of EDFUND as it guarantees loans for California student borrowers. He also focused on the successes achieved by EDFUND’s experiences with the Voluntary Flexible Agreement (VFA) program.

   In the near future, video from the briefing will be offered for download or streaming on the California Institute website’s video page, http://www.calinst.org/video.htm . In addition, several PowerPoint slides from each of the briefing participants are available as part of the briefing package, at /datapages/Final-20070926-FinancialAid.ppt .


Los Angeles Unified School District Briefing on NCLB & ELL Students

   On September 24, 2007, the Los Angeles Unified School District hosted a briefing entitled “Left Behind: NCLB’s Impact on English Language Learners.” The briefing addressed the impact of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law on English Language Learners (ELL) and offered recommended improvements to the law. The briefing was provided by LAUSD Board President Mónica García, Board Member Yolie Flores Aguilar, and Superintendent David L. Brewer III.

   Among its many provisions, NCLB was designed to guarantee that schools and districts were held accountable for teaching ELL students English and measuring their academic progress with tests they could understand. Unfortunately, according to briefing sponsors, the law has provided neither the resources nor the guidance to ensure that ELLs in the LAUSD are tested fairly and learning well.

   For more information, visit: http://www.lausd.net . The trip to DC is described in a press release from the district.


Two October 4 Briefings To Highlight California’s Climate Program; Boxer to Open Senate Session, With House-side Luncheon to Follow

   On Thursday, October 4, 2007, top California energy and climate experts will present two briefings to outline how the state’s climate policy activities offer lessons for crafting federal action. Panelists at both briefings will include the following:

-       Mary Nichols, Chair of the Air Resources Board (ARB)

-       Brian Prusnek, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

-       Alex Farrell, UC Professor and Co-director of "A Low Carbon Fuel Standard for California" reports

-       Dallas Burtraw, Market Advisory Committee

Moderating both events will be Anthony Eggert, Energy Policy Advisor for the University of California. The event is sponsored by the California Institute for Federal Policy Research in partnership with the University of California, California's Governors office, and Air Resources Board.

   Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, will open the 10:00 a.m. session on the Senate side, to be held in the EPW Committee room, 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

   A 12:00 noon luncheon session will follow on the House side, to be held in Room B-369 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

   In fall of 2006, California enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), which established a comprehensive program aimed at reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, California has passed several early action policy measures, commissioned several detailed policy reports, and held hundreds of meetings, workshops, and seminars on the subject. These two briefing and facilitated Q&A session by a distinguished panel will provide an update on these activities, with a specific focus on items relevant to federal policy makers.

   The topics to be discussed can be considered in three major areas: an overview of California’s climate program, the report by the Market Advisory Committee, and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

   The portion entitled “California's Climate Program - An Overview” will outline the California Climate Program, including the major state laws (AB32, GHG Tailpipe Emissions Standards, etc.), regulatory structure, and implementation plans. There will be specific focus on issues likely to confront federal agencies implementing a national program. For more information on California's Climate program see: http://www.climatechange.ca.gov/index.html .

Market Advisory Committee Report

   The “Market Advisory Committee” (MAC) is an internationally esteemed panel commissioned by the Secretary of the California EPA to make recommendations on the design of a cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions. Their report, issued in June of 2007, provides specific recommendations on issues such as scope of the program, point of regulation, allowance strategy, offsets, and cost control mechanisms. This session will focus on their recommendations that may be directly relevant to a federal cap and trade program. For more, see: http://www.climatechange.ca.gov/policies/market_advisory.html .

   Lastly, the “Low Carbon Fuel Standard” (LCFS) seeks to provide industry with the appropriate structure and incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels at the lowest cost and fastest pace by harnessing market competition and preserving consumer choice. One of the first early action items under California's Global Warming Solutions Act, the LCFS has received significant national and international attention and support including bills from Sens. Boxer and Feinstein as well as Sens. Sanders, Collins, Snowe, Lieberman, Obama, Harkin and Rep. Inslee. A similar program is being considered by the European Commission and in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Panelists will discuss the recently released University of California LCFS policy report which includes recommendations relevant to a potential federal program. For more LCFS information see: http://www.energy.ca.gov/low_carbon_fuel_standard/index.html .

   To attend the October 4 luncheon briefing, please email the California Institute at RSVP@calinst.org or call 202-974-6384 (acceptances only, thank you). Please note that the California Institute is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit that does not lobby or employ lobbyists, and that this event will be widely-attended.

   Invitations for the events are available on the California Institute website's events pageWhen reserving, please indicate whether you plan to attend the 10 am Senate briefing in 408 Dirksen, or the 12:00 noon House luncheon briefing in B-369, or both events.


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