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California Senate Passes Controversial Cap-and-Trade Extension

An extension to California's Cap-and-Trade Program, in which polluters pay for permits to offset carbon emissions, passed the state Senate on Monday by a slim margin.

The bill, which was brokered by Governor Jerry Brown's office, gained the support of business and agricultural groups with tax breaks, but lost the support of environmental groups who believed the final version was too lenient on the oil industry. "This plan has Big Oil’s fingerprints all over it and doesn’t do enough to protect vulnerable communities or to achieve California’s ambitious targets for reducing carbon pollution,"'s Masada Disenhouse said in a statement.

Despite the Democrats' supermajority in both houses, Brown needed support from at least one Republican to pass the bill, as assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin is out all week.

Following several days of intense negotiations over what to do with the funds from Cap-and-Trade auctions, one Republican, Tom Berryhill, joined the Democrats to pass the proposal.

But the success of the bill is about more than just ratcheting down emissions. "Implicit in the deal is the notion that some Republicans accept climate science, and that in a state where Bernie Sanders received 46 percent of the primary vote, a block of Democrats can still listen to big business and consider economic impacts on major policy decisions," Anthony York wrote in Pacific Standard last week.