California Approves Cap-and-Trade System
3 years in the making; first of its size in the nation
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 17, 2010 8:29 AM CST
California Air Resources Board chairwoman Mary Nichols listens to comments from board members before the board voted to adopt some of the nation's most sweeping clean air regulations, Dec. 16, 2010.   (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)
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(Newser) – While climate legislation flounders in Congress, California is taking the lead: Air regulators there voted yesterday to cap industrial greenhouse gas emissions and instate the first carbon-trading program of its size in the US, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Most political people said we should do as little as possible as slowly as possible” because of the economy, said an official. "We are being cautious and careful, but in the context of a very bold effort."

Some 600 top industrial plants' emissions will be regulated by the measure; if they can't cut their emissions as required, they'll have to secure pollution allowances from the state or other emitters who have an excess. By a vote of 9 to 1, California’s Air Resource Board approved some 3,000 pages of documentation, following a three-year process that saw testimony from industry execs and environmentalists. “We have led the nation in developing green policies," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "And we have seen our green economy grow as a result." See details of the cap-and-trade plan.