A big coalition of environmental justice groups in California just came out with a strong statement opposing a cap-and-trade system and urging “fees” (i.e., taxes) instead. (Here’s L.A. Times‘ coverage.)

Their points are fairly familiar. Most of the opposition seems to be based on the well-documented failures of the European trading system — which, as far as I know, every U.S. legislator is aware of. There’s also something about the revenue from auction not being used to help low-income people:

Meszaros said she didn’t trust an auction system. “We’re concerned that proceeds from an auction won’t be applied to transitioning us to a zero-carbon future. State law requires that fees be used for the issue for which the fee is assessed. But with budget shortfalls in California, proceeds from an auction are going to be sucked into filling the holes.”

Anybody know anything about Cali law? This true? It doesn’t strike me as an argument strong enough to support the rather strident rhetoric, but maybe I’m wrong.

Anyway, this is going to put big green groups — which are, as far as I know, unanimously in support of cap-and-trade — in an awkward position. Should be interesting.

UPDATE: Ah, contrary to the LAT story, the Sierra Club does have a statement on the, uh, statement. Here it is, from Bill Magavern, the director of Sierra Club California:

We share many of the concerns of the EJ groups regarding pollution trading, like possible hot spots, loopholes and windfall profits. For these reasons we worked with the EJ groups to successfully keep mandatory trading out of AB 32. We have advocated that AB 32’s implementation focus primarily on direct emission reductions, not trading, and we have repeatedly pushed ARB to implement the EJ provisions of the law. We are also open to using well-designed market compliance mechanisms to achieve some of the emission reductions necessary, as long as big polluters have to pay for their emissions and local air quality is protected.