A minority of Republican state legislators in California are trying to use their leverage in approving a past-due state budget to force a roll-back of the state's greenhouse gas emissions caps, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The state is operating with a $15.2 billion budget deficit and lawmakers missed the June 15 constitutional deadline for passing a new budget.
The Democratic majority needs Republican votes to pass a budget, and Republicans are using this leverage to call for a delay for emissions caps, set to go into effect January 2010. They say the cap will harm businesses.
Republican Governor Schwarzenegger, who championed the emissions caps and other precedent setting measures to address global warming, said he is open to discussing the issue, but does not want to postpone environmental regulations, which have been the cornerstone of his administration.
"We've got a major downturn in the economy," said Dave Cogdill of Modesto, leader of the state Senate's Republicans. "We're trying to convince the governor to give us more time on this."
Democratic Senator Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach said, "Using a fiscal crisis to delay and roll back protections for Californians is just wrong."