By JASON DEAREN Associated Press
California is debuting its new, landmark cap-and-trade program with an auction of greenhouse gas pollution permits, despite an eleventh-hour lawsuit filed by the state's largest business group.
The cap-and-trade plan is a central piece of the state's 2006 global warming law, AB32, a suite of regulations meant to reduce dramatically the state's emissions of heat-trapping gases.
The program places a limit, or cap, on emissions from individual polluters. Businesses are required to cut emissions to cap levels or buy allowances from other companies for each ton over the cap that is discharged annually. If a business were to cut emissions below the cap, it could profit by selling its extra allowances.
The program's first auction on Wednesday is being closely watched, as it will essentially put a price on carbon emissions for the first time in state history. Only the European Union has implemented a similar plan in terms of scope.
But the California Chamber of Commerce has sued, challenging the validity of the state's cap-and-trade program. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court was not expected to stop the auction. The group was not seeking an injunction to halt the program immediately, said Denise Davis, a chamber spokeswoman.
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