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Budget Agreement Diverts Money From Cap and Trade

Valley Public Radio

California’s budget agreement borrows 500-million dollars from the state’s cap-and-trade program. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, environmentalists say the maneuver neglects polluted communities.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. California Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers say it will, just not this year.

“We’re very upset we’re very disappointed, this has been borrowed on the backs of people who can least afford it," says Vien Truong with the Greenlining Institute. Truong says there are projects ready to bring clean air to low-income communities. But Democratic Senate budget chair Mark Leno says the money is needed for social service programs.

“In a perfect world we would not have had to take this money as a loan to be paid back next year, but it’s important to look at the overall architecture of the budget for consideration of this particular action,” says Leno.

The cap-and-trade fund has just over $200 million in it now. But lawmakers say they’re confident that future carbon auctions will bring in the money needed for the budget.

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