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Gov. Schwarzenegger said he is in favor of the increased demand as a way to meet the 2006 global warming law requirements to lower greenhouse gas production for the state. Mary Nichols, chairman of the resources board and former EPA regulator said that the new rules would help clean the air and bring thousands of jobs to the state whose current unemployment rate stands at 12.4 percent.
Opponents of the rule say it is loaded with loopholes and will be ineffective. The new rule would allow utilities to purchase renewable energy credits from outside the state in order to meet the 33 percent requirement. Currently, utilities must supply all of the energy production within the state to meet the 20 percent demand.
Interestingly, the state legislature failed to take a vote on the topic before the end of their session. The state resources board had to act on its own to accomplish this task. Also, as in the current rule, energy produced by hydroelectric plants and nuclear power production does not count as a clean, renewable energy source in order to meet the percentages.
Representatives from the utility industry said that electric bills will have to increase to meet demands placed upon the industry. A measure on the November ballot that was supported by Texas oil groups would call for a delay in implementing the 2006 global warming law until the unemployment rate in the state fell significantly.