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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

California Gov. Newsom sends SAF bill, AB 1322, back to Legislature unsigned

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Gov. Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sept. 28 he will not sign a bill the California Legislature passed in late August to incentivize sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which, among other directives, targets 20 percent SAF consumed in the state by 2030.

AB 1322 was first introduced by Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi and Robert Rivas in February 2021 and would require the California Air Resources Board to develop an incentives-based plan to promote the use of SAF and other alternatives to jet fuel to reduce the impact of commercial aviation on climate change.

Specifically, the bill would require CARB to develop a plan to expand SAF production capacity by identifying tools for increasing SAF infrastructure and usage, while exploring electric and hydrogen technologies.

Contingent on an appropriation, AB 1322 would also require CARB to begin implementing the plan by July 2024.

“I am returning Assembly Bill 1322 without my signature,” Newsom stated. “This bill requires the California Air Resources Board, on or before July 1, 2024, to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions through the production and use of sustainable aviation fuels. This bill would also require CARB, on or before July 1, 2024, to commence implementation of the plan to achieve these goals. While my administration appreciates the intent of this bill, there are existing opportunities for credit generation from sustainable aviation fuel production under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. For these reasons, I cannot sign this bill.”

The plan that the bill tasked CARB to develop would evaluate and create incentives to increase the use of SAF and, to the extent feasible, other sustainable fuels.

In creating the plan, CARB would:

  • Quantify GHG-emission reductions associated with SAF

  • Identify barriers to achieving the SAF production target

  • Set milestones for achieving it

  • Ensure that SAF incentives are, at minimum, comparable to other renewable fuel incentives

  • And identify tools for increasing SAF supply and demand, including buildout of relevant infrastructure

“The path to low-carbon aviation is not a straight one,” said Gene Gebolys, CEO of World Energy, which is greatly expanding SAF production capacity at its Paramount, California, site. “California is home to the world’s first and still North America’s only operating SAF biorefinery. Here we have led and will continue to lead the way in developing the world’s clean-transport solutions. But not today, and not with AB 1322. Delayed but not deterred, we’ll be back, and California is where SAF will first get to scale. Thanks to all those in the Legislature and to all those who collaborated to get this bill to the governor’s desk. With determination and collaboration, we will get to where we need to go, and California will lead the way.”

Proponents of AB 1322 said in August that, in addition to dramatically reducing emissions from aviation in California, it would also help to significantly expand the SAF industry as a whole.

“AB 1322 rises to meet Gov. Newsom’s challenge to the Legislature to act more aggressively on climate issues,” Rivas said in August.

Click here to read the bill.



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