AENR August Suspense Hearing Update
August 27, 2021
The Legislature has just two short weeks left to finish their business and dispense with any bills that remain active. Yesterday, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees took a major step in that direction by hearing bills held in their suspense file, including several bills that the CSAC Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources team have been tracking closely. Below is a recap of some of the most pressing bills in the AENR realm.
AB 9 (Wood) would establish and codify the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program with the goal of increasing regional capacity to create fire-adapted communities and landscapes. Often funding for fire prevention is limited to capital projects. Counties and their partners need funding to work both on direct projects and capacity building to make landscape-level improvements to resiliency. CSAC strongly supports AB 9, and the Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to pass it to the Senate floor.
AB 1201 (Ting) would improve the quality of compost stream inputs and prohibit the use of problematic chemicals in compostable products. AB 1201 also requires compostable products to be labeled so consumers and processing facilities can quickly and clearly distinguish them from non-compostable products. CSAC supports AB 1201, and the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass it to the Senate floor.
SB 99 (Dodd) would require the California Energy Commission to develop a grant program to support local governments in the development of community energy resilience plans. The bill would define community energy resilience plans as a planning document prepared by a local government, or community choice aggregator, that sets forth a strategy for maintaining a reliable supply of electricity during both scheduled and unintended outages. CSAC supports SB 99, however, the bill was held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 109 (Dodd) would establish the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development in the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). This office would test and research tools and technology to prevent and suppress wildfires, and serve as the central point for the identification of emerging wildfire prevention technologies. CSAC supports SB 109, and the Assembly Appropriations voted to pass it to the Assembly floor.
SB 418 (Laird) would extend the sunset provision for the Planning for Sea Level Rise Database until January 1, 2028. This bill will ensure stakeholders, including counties, at the forefront of protecting our coastal communities continue to have access to invaluable educational and assessment tools. These tools include studies, programs, modeling, mapping, cost-benefit analyses, vulnerability assessments, adaptation assessments, and local coastal programs that have been created to prepare for sea-level rise. CSAC supports SB 418, and the Assembly Appropriations voted to pass it to the Assembly floor.
SB 552 (Hertzberg) would, among other provisions, direct counties to establish a task force to facilitate drought preparedness. The bill was amended in the second house to require counties to include a question about dry wells in a new well permit application and to report information on dry and failing wells to relevant groundwater sustainability agencies and to the Department of Water Resources. CSAC pushed back on this and continues conversations with the author’s office about taking out these provisions, which would remove CSAC’s oppose position. SB 619 was passed out of the Appropriations Committee to the Assembly floor.
SB 619 (Laird) would delay enforcement and add support for counties implementing the SB 1383 organic waste provisions. Cost estimates from CalRecycle over $20 billion, which will be born at the local level through increase costs and rates. Local governments need state support to implement statewide requirements for organic waste reduction. CSAC supports SB 619 and the Assembly Appropriations voted to pass it to the Assembly floor.