Business groups object to greenhouse gas targets

Forecasts of high fuel costs and potential for lawsuits; others see them as needed

SACRAMENTO -- State air-quality regulators late last week adopted 10- and 25-year targets for reductions in greenhouse gases in the major metropolitan areas in the state over the objections of some business groups and certain policy planners that the targets for the Los Angeles and greater San Francisco Bay areas will result in high fuel and transportation costs and more environmental-impact lawsuits for real estate developers.

The California Air Resources Board, under a deadline this month to adopt regionally set greenhouse gas targets under Senate Bill 375, on Sept. 23 approved targets approved by regional governments.

Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols pointed out to dozens of environmental, business, real estate, construction and labor groups that lined up to testify that the targets under consideration were a starting point for a process set to take several years at a number of state, regional and local planning levels.

"I want to make it clear that they are in no effect a mandate or punishment if they do not meet those targets, but there is a target for getting those plans in place," she said at the beginning of the 6.5-hour hearing. "There is a long way to go for local governments to get transportation plans in place, and local plans will take years to effectuate."

A coalition of 50 to 70 construction, real estate and business groups were calling on members to urge the air board to take more time to explore the targets, some of which had been revised dramatically only a few months ago.

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