The California environmental protection program expires at the end of the month, but it’s unclear how the state will keep its certification after that date.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it’s ending the California program after two years, but not before the state has been plagued by a spate of pollution incidents, including a fire that forced nearly 4,000 people from their homes in September.
The fire in September, which destroyed nearly 3,000 homes and a nearby hospital, also caused widespread destruction.
Since the beginning of the year, the California Office of Environmental Quality has received more than 20,000 complaints about the program, and the state is expected to have more than 7,500 more by the end, according to a DOE spokesperson.
The state has said it will rely on private companies to replace the program.
“The California program was a success for the state, and we were very pleased that the program has been ended,” state Attorney General Xavier Becerra told ABC News last month.
“We’re going to use the money that we got from this program to continue to improve the quality of life of our residents and to provide opportunities for them to be productive citizens.”
Becerra has been a staunch critic of the state’s environmental program, which he has said has been wasteful and inefficient, and has accused the state of violating federal environmental laws.
He has been working to repeal the program and replace it with a more competitive system.
The California Office for Environmental Quality said in a statement that the DOE’s announcement on Monday “did not address the challenges posed by our programs in the future.”
“It is important to note that the new program has a proven track record of producing results and that the Department of DOE will continue to pursue a process that provides the best possible environmental outcomes for our residents,” the statement read.
The program has received criticism from the business community, which has said that the California system is too costly, slow and often fails to meet environmental standards.
The California Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 100,000 businesses, said the state needs to replace its system with a better, more cost-effective model.
“With our strong business communities in California, we are confident that California will be able to meet its obligations under the federal Clean Air Act, including compliance requirements,” the Chamber said in its statement.