Today electric vehicles typically cost about 25 per cent more than non-electric ones, but they can save motorists about 75 per cent of their fuel costs. Energy Minister Bill Bennett says the province will offer incentives for the purchase or lease of new battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.“Now with our third consecutive balanced budget, we’re able to afford about $10.5 million that’s going to go into, first and foremost, some $5,000 incentives to consumers who will buy electric vehicles,” Minister Bennett goes on to say. “There’s also $1 million that’s going to go towards developing electric vehicle fleets, and there’s about $1.6 million that’s going to go into charging stations – which is part and parcel what you need to do.”“You can’t just stop at incentivising people to buy electric vehicles; you also have to make it easier for them to recharge.”- Advertisement -The second phase of the program begins next Wednesday April 1, 2015, and the Ministry of Energy will administer and implement it in partnership with the Fraser Basin Council, the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, and the New Car Dealers Association of BC – which is led by President and CEO Blair Qualey.“We’ve been talking to the government, I think for a year now, around the opportunity to…recharge the Clean Energy Vehicle Program, so we’re all excited about that – we think it’s terrific news,” says Qualey. “We were honoured to run the last program for the provincial government, and we’re really pleased to see the minister make the announcement.”Qualey adds, “This government’s shown strong leadership on the environment; strong leadership around the automotive sector, so this is terrific news for British Columbia and our environment.”Advertisement
The bill was written by Nu ez and former Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Woodland Hills, and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after lengthy negotiations with Democrats. But some Republicans and business groups worry the measures go too far with taxes and bind businesses with too much red tape. Many Republicans are looking for market-based approaches in which businesses can trade environmental credits or receive other financial incentives for reducing emissions, rather than top-down mandates preferred by Democrats. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, said market approaches can allow the state to help the environment without harming the business community. “California is the most energy-efficient state,” DeVore said. “You would think we would want to attract jobs and investment to come here, because if you have a job here, that means any good produced here is going to be produced with less harm to the environment than in any other state in the union.” DeVore recently introduced a bill to lift a ban on new nuclear power plants in California, arguing that nuclear power produces the lowest level of carbon emissions of any power source, including solar. The bill was killed in committee, though DeVore said he plans to re-introduce it next year. Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, a member of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, noted that Democrats and environmentalists have opposed development of several energy sources that produce lower carbon emissions, including nuclear, hydroelectric and liquefied natural gas. “It’s really difficult for me to see all this emphasis on light bulbs and SUV taxes when we won’t even have a debate on energy being developed through either nuclear or additional hydro or the issue of importing (liquefied natural gas),” Runner said. “Those three items have far more significance than the little lifestyle `nanny government’ decisions that we see coming out of the Legislature. But the problem is those are just not politically correct.” Opponents of new hydroelectric sources worry that dams built to support such facilities harm local ecosystems, while coastal protection advocates have fought new offshore LNG terminals because of concerns about marine life and pollution. Nuclear critics worry about safety, as well as proper disposal of nuclear waste. Environmentalists acknowledge the business community, led by the California Chamber of Commerce, has strong influence in the Capitol, but they feel the tide may be finally turning. “We’re outgunned and outnumbered,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, an advocate with Environment California. “But this time around we have a growing voter base on both sides of the aisle that realizes we need to take swift action. So hopefully we’ll continue to prevail.” Recent polls have found the public is growingly increasingly concerned about global warming. At the national level, analysts said the renewed attention is being partly driven by the success of former Vice President Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” A recent Field Poll found 81 percent of Californians consider global warming a very serious or somewhat serious problem. And the poll found Californians feel state and federal governments aren’t doing enough to combat the problem. Only 21 percent approved of the federal government’s handling of the issue, while 43 percent approved of the state’s. “I think the public is ahead of legislators on this,” said Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at California State University, Sacramento. “And Al Gore has provided cover. The wildly received slideshow has caused elected officials at all levels to say, `OK, people are really attracted to this.”‘ harrison.sheppard @dailynews.com (916) 446-6723 Global warming bills pending Here are some of the dozens of environmental bills pending in the Legislature. For more information, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov. Light bulbs: AB 722 by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys – Lamps that use incandescent light bulbs would be banned by 2012 in favor of more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. Hybrid cars: AB 99 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-West Hollywood – Half the vehicles sold in California would have to use alternative fuel by 2010, with 100 percent by 2020. Smog fee: AB 255 by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles – Smog Abatement Fee would increase from $12 to $16, generating about $44 million a year for alternative-fuels research. SUV tax: AB 493 by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City – $2,500 incentives for buyers of cleaner vehicles; $2,500 penalties for purchases of higher-polluting vehicles. Alternative fuel: AB 118 by Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles – Create a fund for air-quality improvements and alternative-fuel research. Plastic in oceans: AB 258 by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, D-Burbank – New methods to reduce plastic litter in the ocean. Private investment: SB 469 by Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster – State study of obstacles to private capital investment in self-generating power facilities. Source: Daily News research, www.leginfo.ca.gov160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Fueled by growing concerns over global warming, California lawmakers have launched new environmental efforts in hopes of harnessing reinvigorated public attention and overcoming intensive lobbying pressure from heavy-hitting opponents. The measures range from a $2,500 fee for buying gas-guzzling SUVs to a requirement that takeout-food containers be made from recyclable material. “I think there’s a greater emphasis on the environment this year than we’ve seen in past years, particularly because California has been a leader in the fight to combat global warming,” said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles, a co-author of last year’s landmark global warming bill. “It’s generated so much interest and attention that I think people now feel a responsibility to continue carrying that torch.” Last year’s global warming legislation created a program to regulate emission of greenhouse gases in California, with a goal of rolling back emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.