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California's fossil fuel use slated to grow

June 30, 2009 |  8:13 pm


California will spend up to $2,911.1 billion on fossil fuels such as oil and coal between 2010 and 2030, according to a new study released Tuesday by the advocacy group Environment California. Using Department of Energy projections, the group found that the total amount spent on fossil fuel between 2010 and 2030 will amount to almost three times the total earnings of all California workers in 2007.

California has no coal plants within its borders, but utilities such as Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power purchase electricity from coal-fired power plants outside the state. The group's report highlights growing concern over  U.S. dependence on foreign oil and over the health and environmental risks of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the leading contributors to both toxic air emissions and greenhouse gas pollution, it noted.

“Every additional dollar we spend on fossil fuels just buys us more global warming pollution, more smog, and more asthma attacks," said Jennifer Kim, a spokeswoman for Environment California.

The group released the study in the wake of the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of the massive  Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Bill, to spur the use of renewable energy from the wind and sun, as well as curb planet-heating carbon dioxide gases which result from burning fossil fuels. But the legislation may have tough sledding in the U.S. Senate, where coal-dependent states wield more power.

-- Amy Littlefield

Photo: A California oil field. Credit: Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times