Schwarzenegger teams up with states on climate, enviro work

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, August 7, 2017

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today will launch an effort focused on state legislatures to counter President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate agreement.

The Republican, who has frequently sparred with the president on Twitter over climate change and other issues, is partnering with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators to provide lawmakers with a digital “handbook” for action on environmental and public health issues.

Schwarzenegger said the goal is to take action at the state level as Washington has become increasingly paralyzed by partisanship and the current administration.

“Legislative leaders in state capitals across the United States are filling the vacuum left by Washington, especially when it comes to passing laws that protect the environment and promote economic growth,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The action film star served as California’s governor for two terms ending in 2011. During his tenure, he signed A.B. 32, the most aggressive climate change legislation in the country. The law took several steps, including establishing the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Schwarzenegger will deliver a keynote address on the topic to 125 state legislators at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators forum this evening in Boston.

The handbook is aimed at providing legislative research, bill language, voting records and other insight for proposing environmental solutions.

“I am so excited to join the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators in showing the world that America is still committed to bipartisan, innovative policy making that reduces pollution and protects human health while creating jobs and economic opportunity,” he said.

The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators counts more than 1,100 lawmakers from all 50 states as members.

But in order for the effort to gain traction, the work of the caucus’s members will likely need to be bipartisan. Republicans hold majorities in 32 state legislatures, while Democrats control 14. (Three statehouses are split or tied, and one, Nebraska’s, is nonpartisan.)

Executive Director Jeff Mauk hit on that theme in his statement applauding the effort.

“State legislators are committed to putting America back to work in the new clean energy economy and mitigating the impacts of global warming,” he said. “Working together across state and party lines, states can cement America’s global leadership on fighting climate change.”