Friday, February 29, 2008

State Planning Investments In Green Business

State Planning Investments In Green Business
By Mike Zapler/MediaNews Sacramento Bureau
Article Launched: 02/29/2008

SACRAMENTO - State lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a package of bills designed to spur investment in clean energy research and help California compete with other states and nations for green jobs.

Several of the bills, however, are costly or would involve incurring billions in debt, which could hurt their prospects as the Legislature grapples with what is a now estimated $8 billion deficit. (The governor and lawmakers took action earlier this month that is expected to cut in half what was then a projected $16 billion deficit).

Still, legislators and green tech company representatives said that state government can play an important role in boosting a fledgling but potentially lucrative industry for California.

"The digital revolution was heavily subsidized," said Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, who is pitching a $2 billion bond measure (AB 2003) to invest in solar, wind and other alternative energy technologies. "And it was a very smart investment by the federal government."

Two senators are proposing similar bond measures, one also for $2 billion and another for $3 billion. And Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, has a bill (SB 1760) calling on state agencies to craft a plan to spend $200 million on green energy research.

The bond measures and other proposals come as state regulators work to implement AB 32, the ambitious 2006 initiative to slash state greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. On Thursday, a committee of businesses executives, many in the green technology field, presented a report outlining ways to streamline government regulations and use technology to meet the bill's mandate.

The full report is available online at

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