The Latest: California Climate bill clears Senate hurdle - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

The Latest: California Climate bill clears Senate hurdle

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on negotiations to extend California's cap and trade program (all times local):
    
2 p.m.
    
A California Senate committee has advanced a bill to extend the state's signature climate change law through 2030.
    
Democrats on the Environmental Quality Committee backed the legislation in a 5-2 party-line vote on Thursday, pushing it one step closer to a vote on the Senate floor.
    
The measure gives another 10 years of life to California's cap and trade program, which caps carbon emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release greenhouse gases.
    
Extending the program is a top priority for Gov. Jerry Brown, who is scrambling to line up votes from the required two-thirds of lawmakers.
    
Democratic lawmakers backed the legislation despite opposition from environmental justice organizations that have long been skeptical of cap and trade. They say the program allows oil refineries and other polluters to continue releasing greenhouse gases as long as they pay a fee.
    
___
    
11:30 a.m.
    
Gov. Jerry Brown says Californians will see significantly higher costs if lawmakers fail to approve his request to extend the state's cap and trade climate change.
    
Brown is offering an energized testimony to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, which is considering bills that would extend cap and trade and boost air-quality monitoring. Brown has made combating climate change a centerpiece of his agenda in California and on the world stage.
    
Brown is encouraging lawmakers to consider climate change "a threat to organized human existence" that must be tackled. His message to lawmakers: "This is the most important vote of your life."
    
Brown says the state is required by law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cap and trade is the cheapest way to do it.
    
The cap and trade program caps annual greenhouse gas emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release climate-changing gases.
    
___
    
10:30 a.m.
    
California Republican leaders say their party is opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to expand the state's cap and trade policy.
    
The GOP opposition announced Thursday complicates Brown's effort to advance one of his highest priorities. He'll almost certainly need Republican support to reach the two-thirds supermajority the legislation requires. A vote is slated for Monday.
    
Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes says none of his caucus members are currently supporting the legislation. He says Republicans want to see more tax cuts and regulatory relief.
    
Eleven of 13 Senate Republicans signed a letter saying they oppose extending cap and trade.
    
Brown's office did not immediately comment. Brown and Democratic leaders had agreed to extend a series of tax breaks and eliminate a controversial fire-prevention fee in a bid to win Republican support.
    
___
    
6 a.m.
    
A plan to extend California's signature climate initiative for another decade is scheduled to go before state legislative committees on Thursday.
    
The discussion comes as Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers struggle to line up support in the face of opposition from some environmental advocates.
    
In a sign of that difficulty, lawmakers indicated Wednesday that negotiations had expanded beyond climate change and air quality to include the state's lack of affordable housing.
    
Legislative leaders say they've scheduled votes in the Assembly and Senate for Monday, delaying a decision that had been expected to come Thursday evening.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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