Years of Lobbying Helped Transportation Fuels Industry Win Exemptions From California’s Climate Rules

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 For four years oil companies, airlines and ground transportation industry groups have petitioned California for exemptions from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas market, saying consumers would take the hit through higher prices at the pump and in stores. And in court they are still arguing that the state lacks the regulatory authority to compel participation.

To a degree, they have succeeded. A constant stream of policy papers, letters to state agencies and lawsuits preceded exemptions from state greenhouse gas restrictions potentially worth millions of dollars.

Officials at the California Air Resources Board say they have listened carefully to business concerns since they began drafting the complex rules governing the cap-and-trade program in 2009. But some critics say that allowing industry to influence the regulations after the program started could itself cause economic volatility.

The transportation fuels industry won a two-year delay in its participation in cap-and-trade. In 2010 companies and industry associations argued that entering the program by 2012 would hurt the economy and penalize consumers.

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