CRTA-Opposed Bills Stall in Committee

Two bills that are opposed by CRTA failed to move out of their respective committees this week.

AB 2204 (Bennett) is essentially a re-introduction of AB 1550 that the Alliance also opposed and the State Assembly did not approve earlier this year. This bill sought to prematurely define “green hydrogen” in accordance to the “three pillars” concept of (1) “additionality” (new renewable energy supplies), (2) “hourly matching” (consumption must match production), and (3) “deliverability” (geographical source matching). AB 2204 was scheduled to be heard in Asm Utilities & Energy Committee but the author pulled the bill after the committee offered amendments to modify its provisions.

The “3 pillars” is an unadopted concept that is under consideration as part of the ongoing federal rulemaking on the 45V hydrogen production tax credit. Adopting this approach in California, especially ahead of any federal action, could have severe policy and economic consequences for the state’s nascent hydrogen production industry, including jeopardizing the $10 billion in private investment necessary to support California’s $12 billion hydrogen hub.

SB 1237 (Stern) is a bill proposing a solution to a non-existent problem. It sought to replace several statutory references of “natural gas” with the word “methane” in an attempt by the author to highlight the “health and environmental harm” of fossil natural gas in furtherance of souring public opinion on its use. This bill is unnecessary because California’s decarbonization policies are already reducing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. Further, the bill is problematic because the term “natural gas” is not synonymous with “methane.” Therefore, reclassifying the term in statute could have broad and unknown policy and programmatic ramifications, like “diminish[ing] the state regulatory power over natural gas,” as raised in the committee analysis. Additionally, because the bill does not distinguish the source of methane, these broad changes could negatively impact the use and application of biomethane in the state.

This bill was on the agenda in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communication Committee, but when called to present his bill, the author announced he was pulling it from committee due to last minute opposition from the committee Chair.