Big polluters get help from the state, renewing doubts about California’s climate goals

State authorities this week delivered on a controversial deal struck last year that handed oil companies and other major polluters a multimillion-dollar windfall.

Critics pounced on what they characterized as a giveaway to industry.

“It sends the wrong message at the exact time climate leaders are in Poland trying to increase global ambition to curb emissions,” said state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Fremont Democrat. He had said last year, after the specifics of the deal were disclosed by CALmatters, that he would block the benefit.

“This decision moves us backwards and reduces future revenue to curb emissions,” Wieckowski said in an emailed statement after this week’s action. He was in Poland attending a climate conference.

The 2017 deal, for subsidies worth as much as $350 million, rescued a cliffhanger vote in the Legislature that extended the state’s cap-and-trade program to 2030.

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