Silicon Valley Democratic Club

Environmental Committee’s Legislative Priority List

May 2019


We are increasingly witnessing the threat climate change poses to our humanity everyday. The destructive impacts and consequences of global temperature rise and environmental degradation in the Bay Area include increased wildfire disasters, deteriorating coastlines and wetlands, toxic air pollution, a plastic waste crisis, and a host of environmentally caused health problems. The SVDC Environmental Committee is prioritizing the following vital bills impacting our community, state and planet. Many of these bills are being tracked by environmental groups with solid track records, including Bay Area 350, Sierra Club California, Californians Against Waste, and the Indivisible California Green Team.

The SVDC Environmental Committee believes in proactive environmental policy that pushes forward ambitious, yet achievable solutions that keep California on the forefront of the battle against climate change. We know that this is not only an environmental issue, but a social justice issue that disproportionately affects those that live in poverty as well as communities of color. Our state has played a vital role in enacting climate justice and energy policies that have not only helped to decarbonize all sectors of our economy, but has led to drastic economic benefits and job creation. With the passage of SB 100 last year, which will usher in 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, California has played a key role in resisting the science-denying, environmental rollbacks of the Trump administration.

This legislative cycle, we must continue to serve as a model for the rest of the U.S. and support aggressive policies that will protect our environment, the ocean food chain and the health of communities across California.

NOTE:  Click on Assembly or Senate Bill number below for more detail.

Resisting the Trump Administration

SB 1 (Atkins) - CA Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019 

Support: Makes current federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state law, even if the federal government rolls back and weakens those standards. 

Wildfire Prevention

AB 38 (Wood) - State Wildfire Preparedness Board

Support:  The intensity and frequency of fires in California have increased to unprecedented levels. Residents in high fire hazard areas can make their homes more fire resistant through low-cost retrofits and establishing defensible spaces. This bill would create the State Wildfire Preparedness Board and establish a Fund to help residents harden their homes.

SB 182 (Jackson) - Comprehensive Retrofit Strategies

Support:  This bill would require local governments to develop comprehensive retrofit strategies as part of their local hazard mitigation plan every 8 years. This focuses on common-sense fire safety strategies rather than wildland logging.

Clean Transportation

SB 210 (Leyva) - Smog checks for heavy-duty diesel trucks

Support:  Imposes smog check requirements for heavy-duty diesel trucks in California; unlike personal vehicles, current law does not require heavy-duty vehicles to have the same types of smog checks required for passenger cars for decades. This bill has been amended to be a 2 year pilot program.

SB 44 (Skinner) - Ditch Dirty Diesel

Support:  The bill would provide a roadmap for meeting California’s climate and air quality targets by dramatically reducing harmful diesel emissions. It would require the Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy to deploy zero and near-zero freight vehicles that would bring the state into compliance with ambient air quality standards, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. 

Parks, Wildlife and Habitat Preservation

AB 454 (Kalra) - Migratory Bird Protection

Support:  This would expand California’s leadership on migratory bird protection and conservation, which is especially important as many migratory bird populations continue to decline due to human activities and as the federal government rolls back federal protections for birds and other wildlife.

AB 1254 (Kamlager-Dove) - Trophy Hunting Ban

Support:  Bobcats play an important role in the maintenance of healthy ecosystems and are iconic in California. This bill would ban cruel and senseless bobcat trophy hunting in the state.

AB 1788 (Bloom) - Rodenticide Ban

Support:  Anticoagulant rodenticides, a group of dangerous pesticides, have widespread and detrimental impacts on the very carnivores who help regulate rodent populations – including bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, foxes, hawks, eagles and owls. This bill would abolish the use of this pesticide, except in the case of agricultural activities and public health situations.

Clean Water

SB 307 (Roth) - Mojave Desert Aquifer

Support:  The federal government has refused to conduct an environmental review of a project that would pump 16 billion gallons of water annually for 50 years from the Mojave Desert aquifer. The bill would prohibit the water transfer unless the state finds that it will not adversely affect the natural resources of those federal and state lands.

SB 559 (Hurtado) - Friant-Kern Canal

Oppose:  The bill would appropriate $400 million to repair the Friant-Kern Canal, a water conveyance built as part of the federally-funded Center Valley Project that has suffered from subsidence due to the overdraught of aquifers along the canal’s 152-mile length. The bill provides funding with no bounds to ensure steps are taken by the agency responsible for the canal to ensure future subsidence does not occur and that conservation measures are imposed.

Energy Efficiency 

AB 56 (Garcia) – Central Energy Procurement

Oppose:  This bill would create a new statewide central energy procurement entity which could undercut the work of our locally controlled Community Choice Energy (CCA) programs that have been growing rapidly. The CPUC is already looking at this issue and we OPPOSE this bill at this time.

SB 288 (Wiener) – Solar bill of rights

Support:  Protects the right of consumers to generate and store their own clean energy without interference from utility companies; targets charges that create monetary barriers to installing renewables and unreasonable barriers to connecting to the grid.

AB 961 (Reyes) - Community Energy Benefits

Support:  This bill would require the California Public Utilities Commission to develop a methodology to measure the non-energy benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency programs in disadvantaged communities.

Toxics and Waste Reduction

SB 54 (Allen) / AB 1080 (Gonzalez) – California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act

Support:  Requires plastic and other single-use materials be reusable, fully recyclable, or compostable by 2030; would also require CA to recycle or otherwise divert from landfills 75% of its single-use plastics (up from a 44% diversion rate in 2017).

SB 458 (Durazo) - Protect Children from Brain-Damaging Chlorpyrifos Act of 2019

Support:  Pregnant mothers and children can be exposed to chlorpyrifos, a dangerous pesticide, through food residue and contaminated water, which causes brain damage in infants and children. This bill would ban the use of chlorpyrifos.

AB 1583 (Eggman) - The California Recycling Market Development Act

Support:  Reauthorizes existing, and creates new, recycling infrastructure development programs, including sales tax exemptions, low interest loans, and new incentive payment programs. The bill also helps the state develop a commission of private and public sector recyclers to develop strategies for education and to promote the product design for recyclability.


AB 792 (Ting) - Mandatory Recycled Content in Plastic Bottles

Support:  Sets forward a series of graduated minimum recycled content levels for all plastic beverage containers, starting at 25% in 2021 and increasing incrementally thereafter. More than 3 billion bottles are still dumped in the landfill every year.

SB 724 (Stern, Glazer) - Bottle Bill buy-back centers

Support:  )Increases funding to recycling centers in response to the dramatic decline in recycling facilities in recent years; proposes a short-term fix for California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program that would restore support for our recycling infrastructure, and provide CalRecycle with new incentives and authority to return recycling to unserved/underserved communities across the state.

AB 161 (Ting) - “Skip the Slip” paper receipts on request

Support:  Currently, 10 million trees and 21 billion gallons of water are used to create paper receipts in the United States. These receipts generate 686 million pounds of waste and 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of one million cars on the road. In an effort to combat this, AB 161 would require all businesses in California to make electronic receipts the default, unless a paper receipt is requested.

AB 1163 (Eggman) - Right to Repair

Support:  The United States alone generated 6.3 million tons of e-waste in 2016. In California, we throw out 46,900 phones alone each day. Right to Repair is a nationwide movement aiming to extend the life of electronics by making it easier for people and businesses to make repairs. This bill extends California’s existing warranty laws by adding individual owners and regulated independent service dealers to the entities eligible to receive functional parts and service literature from manufacturers for electronics and appliances.

AB 129 (Bloom) - Microfiber Pollution

Support:  When clothing made of synthetic materials is washed, they release tiny pieces of plastic called microfibers. It is unclear just how long microfibers can live in our ecosystem, and have been found in remote marine habitats, drinking water, and in the food we eat. This bill would require the State Water Resource Board to test microfiber filtration systems, adopt a standard methodology for evaluating the filtration systems, and publish the results. It would also phase in washing machine filtration system requirements for public entities that use a laundry system, like universities and prisons, or those that contract with the State for these services, then expand to all businesses.

AB 1162 (Kalra) - Single use hotel toiletries

Support:  Prohibits the distribution of single use toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, lotion) at hotels.

SB 667 (Hueso) - Organic Waste Infrastructure

Support:  Creates an incentive program for organics and paper recycling. Also directs CalRecycle to develop a multi-year GGRF plan and creates an unspecified continuous GGRF appropriation.

AB 1672 (Bloom) - Flushable Products

Support:  Prohibits a manufacturer from labeling products as safe to flush, safe for sewer systems, or safe for septic systems unless they meet the International Water Services Flushability Group testing methods and criteria for flushability. Non-flushable products will have to be labeled clearly to communicate that they should not be flushed.

Drilling, Oil, and Tar Sands Restrictions:

AB 345 (Muratsuchi) – 2500 ft. buffer zone around new or reopened oil or gas development sites

Support:  Mandates setbacks greater than 2500 feet between new oil and gas wells and residences, schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, hospitals, and health clinics. This bill is a top priority for several Environmental Justice groups.

AB 342 (Muratsuchi) – Oil and gas leasing restrictions on protected lands

Support:  Prohibits the development of infrastructure that would support transportation of oil or gas on protected, or formerly protected public land. Covers tidal lands, tribal lands, and lands which the Trump administration has removed from protected status.

AB 936  (Rivas) Tar sands/oil spill and liability bill

Support:  Requires that shipping entities develop additional oil spill response plans for tar sands (non-floating crude oil) and requires additional liability for conducting doing this shipping, including providing advanced notice.

AB 1083 (Burke) - Assessing Clean Energy Procurement Requirements

Oppose:  This bill throws a wrench into any future legislation to advance renewable energy and battery energy storage by opening up the ability to require an extensive study of all impacts of such requirements. This bill is part of a larger effort by the gas industry and utilities to discredit clean energy laws.

SB 169 (Jackson) Oil Pipeline Regulations

Support:  The bill would require that all pipelines in California follow consistent regulations. Currently pipelines that operate at partial capacity adhere to less stringent rules. It also ensures that pipeline inspectors have the proper tools to verify that all pipelines are operating in compliance with the law.

SB 457 (Hueso) - Biomethane Incentive Program Extension

Oppose:  In 2015 the California Public Utilities Commission established a $40 million incentive program to support biomethane projects, particularly dairy manure methane digesters, which have their own environmental impacts. This bill would extend the program for another five years. Rather than subsidizing polluting practices, California should instead incentivize farming practices that promote human and environmental health.

SB 463 (Stern) - Oil Storage Risk Management Plan Update

Support:  This bill would require gas storage operators to include a list of any chemicals used their facilities in its risk management plans. It would also require operators to report any chemical leaks and make it a crime to violate this requirement.

SB 246 (Wieckowski) - Oil Severance Tax

Support:  Would bring California in line with every other major oil producing state in the nation, by imposing an oil and gas severance tax. California has been an oil and gas producing state for over 100 years and to date, has never imposed a tax on the extraction of our fossil fuels. SB 246 imposes an oil and gas severance tax at the rate of 10% of the average price per barrel of California oil or 10% of the average price per unit of gas. Collected funds would be deposited in the General Fund. This bill requires a 2/3 vote

AB 161 (Ting) - “Skip the Slip” paper receipts on request  

AB 161 (Ting) - “Skip the Slip” paper receipts on request

Support:  Currently, 10 million trees and 21 billion gallons of water are used to create paper receipts in the United States. These receipts generate 686 million pounds of waste and 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of one million cars on the road. In an effort to combat this, AB 161 would require all businesses in California to make electronic receipts the default, unless a paper receipt is requested.

References:

Sierra Club California Legislative Priority List 2019

https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce/sierra-club-california/PDFs/2019_Priority_Bill_List_4-29-19.pdf

350 Bay Area Action Legislative Committee

https://350bayareaaction.org/legislative-team

Californian’s Against Waste 2019-2010 Legislation

https://www.cawrecycles.org/legislation

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