Schwarzenegger signs bevy of environmental bills

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won props from enviros this week as he signed into law more than two dozen pro-environment bills. The measures will (take a deep breath) allow drivers of hybrids getting at least 45 miles per gallon to go solo in highway carpool lanes, require that all cars built since 1976 get emissions checks from now on, establish the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to protect the beloved mountain range, create a cabinet-level Ocean Protection Council, prohibit dumping of so-called “gray water” from sinks and showers by cruise ships, limit bottom trawling along the coast, raise money to replace old buses with cleaner ones, and allow regional air districts to raise vehicle registration fees to fight diesel soot. Many of the bills were opposed by powerful interests; in particular, Schwarzenegger gave the stiff arm to Ford CEO Bill Ford and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, who lobbied against the carpool-lane and emission-testing bills, respectively. “These bills were not all easy to sign,” said Karen Garrison of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “He did take some risks, and he gets credit for that.”