SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Environmentalists are not looking kindly upon a proposal by Governor Gavin Newsom to send vehicle owners a $ 400 debit card to help cover the higher costs of gasoline.
Pumping back $ 400, or even $ 800 if you own two vehicles, back into the wallets of drivers when gas prices are spiking sounds like relief. But many environmental groups do not believe this is the right approach.
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“It’s like a bandaid that does not really do anything for the current problem we’re in,” said Director of Environment California Laura Deehan.
Instead of spending $ 9 billion for $ 400 rebates, the non-profit Environment California wants to see that money used for more electric vehicle charging stations, transit system improvements, and programs that would drive more people to use electric bicycles.
The rebates, they say, would conflict with efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
“It reminds me of a glass of wine for an alcoholic. It feels really good when you’re struggling. But the problem is we’re dependent on this fuel to power our lives that is hurting your health and planet, ”said Deehan.
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Bay Area Environmental groups like Food and Water Watch want the Governor to address fossil fuel dependence more aggressively.
“He needs to take on the fossil fuel industry, do more to speed that transition which means stopping the expansion of fossil fuels and moving towards a robust and quick and just 100% renewable energy,” said Mark Schlosberg of Food & Water Watch.
Newsom’s proposal would also provide relief to non-drivers by providing free rail and mass transit service for three months. State lawmakers have introduced their own proposals, regardless of whether you own a car. One would provide rebates of $ 200 for each taxpayer and dependent, and excludes the top 10% of earners.
On Thursday, the Democratic-led Assembly rejected a GOP-proposed suspension of the gas tax, which would immediately reduce the price of gas by 51 cents per gallon.
“We need to have a very rapid and aggressive transition to 100% renewable energy with investments in electrification and transportation,” said Schlosberg.
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