California's climate change regulator will keep its leadership through 2020

Gov. Jerry Brown will keep his imprint on the state’s powerful climate change agency beyond his time in office following an agency vote Thursday.

The California Air Resources Board, the state’s climate change and air quality regulator, granted 11 of its 14 members terms beyond the end of this year. The decision ensures that the next governor — either Democrat Gavin Newsom or Republican John Cox — won’t be able to appoint a majority of the board’s leadership for the entirety of his first term in office unless existing positions become vacant.

“I’m sure the next governor will be OK with a few of the folks here remaining on the board,” member Hector De La Torre said during debate on the measure.

The Air Resources Board’s decision comes after the passage of a 2016 law designed to increase legislative oversight over the agency, which is responsible for helping set automobile emission targets and spending billions of dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The law calls for board members to serve six-year terms but allows for initial terms in office to be staggered to avoid constant turnover.

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