California governor signs cap-and-trade revenue bills

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Oct 2, 2012 3:52am EDT

California Governor Jerry Brown attends a celebration at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, June 22, 2012, as the car company began delivering its Model S electric sedan. REUTERS/Noah Berger

California Governor Jerry Brown attends a celebration at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, June 22, 2012, as the car company began delivering its Model S electric sedan.

Credit: Reuters/Noah Berger

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SAN FRANCISCO Oct 2 (Reuters Point Carbon) - California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills related to the use of revenue raised through the sale of carbon allowances, although details of how the money will be spent won't be determined until next year.

The bills are the first to address the estimated $660 million and $3 billion in revenue that will be generated during the first year of California's carbon cap-and-trade scheme, which begins in January.

The first bill creates a new account for the revenue to be deposited into, and directs the Department of Finance and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop an investment plan for the funds.

That plan, expected to be released in the spring of 2013, will be submitted for approval to the legislature as part of the governor's budget and will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Under California state law, the money raised through the sale of carbon allowances must be spent on programs that help reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

"There's a broad array of possible things to spend the funds on," Mary Nichols, chair of the ARB told reporters last week, citing energy efficiency, forest protection and high-speed rail as possible recipients.

The second bill signed by Brown over the weekend requires that 25 percent of all the auction revenue go toward economically disadvantaged communities, which tend to suffer from worse air quality than wealthier neighborhoods.

The bill tasks the California Environmental Protection Agency with determining what communities qualify for the money.

The state will select community recipients next year.

The first carbon allowance auction will be held on November 14, where the state will sell 61.3 million allowances.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll)

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