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Sacramento, CA – The Associated Press reports dozens of people packed a public meeting to testify that a key component of California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law will impose enormous costs on businesses and consumers.

Manufacturers, oil refiners and workers today appeared before the California Air Resources Board to protest the state’s pending cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions. The Board will auction off millions of carbon emission allowances come November 14th.

Opponents say the program’s fees amount to a $1 billion-a-year tax increase. They want the board to reduce the costs of participating in the market.

The cap-and-trade program is part of the state’s global warming law AB 32. Through it, the Air Resources Board will distribute millions of carbon allowances to 430 heavy industrial users, each one allowing them to emit a ton of greenhouse gases.  Each year the total amount of available credits or “the “cap” will decrease. That will in turn create an overall drop in statewide carbon emissions.

The state is handing out most of the credits free of charge but will auction off 10 percent in November.

The AP says the state estimates the auctions will bring in between $660 million and $3 billion in 2012 and 2013.

  • California State Capitol
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