Top California legislator vows court fight if EPA revokes Clean Air waiver

California’s top two legislative leaders, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, were both in the desert last week, visiting with area Democrats as well as business and education leaders.

De León told the Desert Sun at a reception in Palm Desert on Thursday night that he’s still working on the details of his new plan to make California’s electricity sources 100 percent climate friendly by 2045, but credited the state’s investor-owned utilities for the work they’ve done thus far. Because of previous legislation by de León, those companies are mandated to hit 50 percent by 2030.

“I believe that all three utilities will easily get to 50 percent without breaking a sweat,” he said. “I’m wondering if I made a mistake originally by settling on 50 percent as opposed to 100 percent and shooting for the moon.”

Yet he’s mindful of the “fixed assets” that those companies — PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — currently own, including climate-polluting fossil fuel plants. He wants to make sure the transition to clean energy isn’t too costly. “You don’t want to raise utility rates for consumers,” he said.

De León also vowed to fight the Environmental Protection Agency’s new head, Scott Pruitt, if he tries to undermine California’s long-standing authority to set stricter vehicle fuel-efficiency standards than the rest of the country.

“We will see him in a court of law,” de León said.

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