September 10, 2015 / 3:16 AM / in 2 years

California Democrats drop fuel-cutting proposal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California’s top Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday they were abandoning a proposal aimed at dramatically reducing the state’s use of fossil fuels, blaming intense lobbying in the final days of the regular legislative session.

“We could not cut through the multi-million dollar smoke screen created by a single interest group with a singular motive and a bottomless war chest,” said State Senate Democratic Leader Kevin De Leon, who was joined by Governor Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins at the evening news conference.

The axed measure would have mandated a 50 percent cut in the use of petroleum in cars and trucks by 2030, a goal Brown and the others said they would continue to support.

“My zeal has been intensified to a maximum degree. And nothing - nothing is going to stop this state from pushing forward” on a host of climate change measures, said a fiery Brown.

De Leon said the amended bill, which would require public utilities in California to use renewable resources for half the energy they provide by 2030 and increased energy efficiency for buildings, would still go forward.

A separate bill, which would have mandated an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from levels emitted in 1990, was also pulled, but the bill’s author, Democratic state Senator Fran Pavley, said she would attempt to revive it before the end of the session.

The deadline for bills passing the legislature’s regular session is Friday night. A special session on the state’s transportation system could continue longer, but lawmakers have not yet said they would do so.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Writing by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Nick Macfie

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