Governor Brown says is asking that the state increase its energy use from renewable sources to 50 percent and cut petroleum use in half in the next 15 years.
The goal was revealed in his historic fourth inaugural address and state of the state message.
“It’s exciting, it’s bold and it’s absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system,” Brown said.
Governor Brown clearly is thinking long term and possibly of his legacy as the state’s only four term governor. Tuesday, he breaks ground on the controversial high speed rail project that is expected to take 20 years to complete.
He has also advocated stabilizing the state’s water supply with the construction of two massive tunnels to transport water through the Delta.
At the same time he urged restraint on state spending despite an expected budget surplus after years of deficit spending. Still, more money will be funneled to education and for road and infrastructure repair.
“We came together on water when many people said it was impossible. We came together unanimously to create a solid rainy day fund. We can do it again,” said Brown.
Republican lawmakers are happy about the Governor’s commitment to pay down debt and pension obligations with the surplus money, but are wary about the temptations from more money coming int state coffers.
“Democrats are ready to spend that reserve. We cannot do that,” said Senator Jim Nielsen of Gerber.
Many said the economy isn’t sufficiently recovered to pile on the added cost of the Governor’s energy plan.
“The problem with the Governor’s plan is that it hurts the economy. It would destroy jobs, particularly in places like the San Joaquin Valley and dramatically increase the cost of food and the cost of gas,” said Assembly Republican leader Kristen Olsen.
Brown seems to realize the balance that must occur, saying that the key is to reduce carbon emissions without hurting the economy. But Brown says he says is up to the task.
Democratic Assembly member Ken Cooley says lawmakers can work out the details the goals set out in the Governor’s speech.
“It’s short on details, but long on vision and I think it allows the collaboration of government to fill in the details,” said Cooley.