Sen. Barbara Boxer, speaking at a press conference in advance of her speech at the California Democratic Party convention, said that she does not support efforts from industrial state Democratic Senators to pre-empt state and local laws that regulate carbon emissions.

This week, ten Democratic Senators who are key to passing a clean energy bill in Congress wrote a letter saying that their vote on such a bill hinged on federal pre-emption over state climate laws. California would be particularly hampered by this, having passed the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, in 2006. The implementation of AB 32 is well underway and would put California in the vanguard of climate reduction, instituting a cap and trade system and setting up a renewable energy standard above the goals set at the federal level. The President relayed to business leaders yesterday that the climate bill would be up next after financial reform.

Boxer, responding to an earlier question, said she supported AB 32 and would fight against its repeal, which is being sought through a ballot initiative by two Texas oil companies. “The future of clean energy is at stake,” Boxer said to reporters, adding that America is losing the race to China on solar and other greentech measures.

FDL News asked Boxer if she would participate in the nullification of AB 32 if that was the only way to pass a federal climate and energy bill. “I do not support pre-emption,” Boxer said. She understood the need for clarity in trading systems, and that having one for California and one for the rest of the nation may be unwise. But pre-empting the entirety of AB 32 would reduce multiple standards for carbon reduction. “We’ll have to see how the bill is written,” Boxer said, hoping that it could be devised in such a way where California would be able to continue to pursue aggressive regulation of greenhouse gas emissions on their own schedule. Her initial bill was essentially written in that way.

This is but one of the areas where federal climate regulation could actually move parts of the nation backward in several key areas. Despite being chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Boxer has not been in the lead of the Senate process, deferring to the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman framework. But clearly she has some concern with letting the most significant environmental regulation passed in the United States in history fall by the wayside.