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California Governor Signs Nation's Toughest Methane Emissions Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law SB 1383, said to enact the nation’s toughest restrictions on methane and other "super pollutants," which include black carbon and fluorinated (HFC) gases.

"If followed worldwide, these [restrictions] would help cut the projected rate of global warming in half by 2050," a spokesperson for Brown said.

Brown, who signed the bill on Monday, called it "the critical next step in our program to combat climate change," during a signing ceremony at a Long Beach, CA, playground bordering a refinery to dramatize the new law's expected effect on public health and climate change.

SB 1383 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop and implement strategies to cut the super pollutant emissions, including a specific target by 2030 to cut methane emissions and HFC gases each by 40% and black carbon by 50%. It also calls for efforts to increase sustainable production and use of renewable natural gas (RNG).

The restrictions follow the prolonged natural gas storage well leak at the Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon facility that ended last February (see Daily GPIFeb. 18). The facility has remained closed pending completion of testing all 114 storage wells at the 3,600-acre site on the northwest fringe of Los Angeles.

A SoCalGas spokesperson said CARB planned to work with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the state's Department of Food and Agriculture to develop at least five  dairy biomethane pilot projects to produce more RNG in the state.

SoCalGas commended SB 1383 sponsor Sen. Ricardo Lara and Brown “for bringing California this bold legislation that will help drive innovation and develop the market for RNG," the spokesperson said. "Using RNG is the next step in addressing climate issues."

Lara and Brown emphasized that California's overall efforts to address air quality and climate change issues have led to what they called "important reductions" in super pollutants and "have provided a strong foundation for SB 1383” (see Daily GPISept. 9).

"The super pollutants addressed in this bill -- black carbon, methane and HFC gases -- are powerful climate forces that have a profound effect on climate change and global warming," Lara said. "This bill represents a unique opportunity to balance our global vision for the future with a much more local and immediate perspective."

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