AENR Bills of Interest
June 2, 2016
SB 1317 (Wolk) – Oppose
As Amended May 27, 2016
As previously reported, SB 1317, by Senator Wolk, would impose new requirements upon cities and counties when issuing permits for new wells. Specifically, it would require cities and counties that overly a high or medium priority groundwater basin to establish a process for the issuance of groundwater extraction permits. This process would require an applicant for a groundwater extraction permit to demonstrate, based on substantial evidence, that the proposed extraction facility will not contribute to or create an undesirable result. The process would have to be in place by January 1, 2018.
The bill goes a step further by prohibiting the issuance of a groundwater extraction permit if the facility is located in a probationary basin or a basin subject to critical overdraft. SB 1317 would provide exemptions from the permit requirement for: de minimis extractors; replacement of existing groundwater extraction facilities; groundwater extraction facilities that provide drinking water to disadvantaged unincorporated communities; and groundwater extraction facilities necessary for habitat or wetlands conservation and renewable energy projects. The bill’s provision would not apply to those cities and counties that have a similar permit process in place prior to January 1, 2018.
Despite the recent amendments CSAC continues to believe that SB 1317 would get ahead of the process provided under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), in addition to intervening in the local agency decision-making process which is a key element and foundation of SGMA. SB 1317 passed off the Senate Floor on Thursday, June 2.
SB 1318 (Wolk) – Request Comments
As Amended June 1, 2016
SB 1318, by Senator Wolk, would impose several new requirements upon Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCO) to facilitate the provision of water and waste water services to disadvantaged unincorporated communities (DUCs). Included among these requirements is a provision that would require LAFCOs to develop accessibility plans for DUCs that lack water or wastewater on or before January 1, 2020. Of particular interest to counties is the recently added provision that would require cities and counties to incorporate any adopted accessibility plan into their general plan and any update of the land use element of its general plan, as specified.
SB 1318 passed off the Senate Floor on Thursday, June 2. CSAC staff would appreciate county comments on this measure.
AB 2616 (Burke) – Concerns
As Amended May 31, 2016
AB 2616, by Assembly Member Burke, would increase the Coastal Commission membership by three members who are required to work directly with communities in the state that are most burdened by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution and issues of environmental justice. In addition, the bill allows the Commission to address environmental justice concerns. CSAC supports considering environmental justice in aspects of planning and decision-making. However, we have a concern with adding additional non-elected members to the Costal Commission, thus upsetting the negotiated balance of public verse elected Coastal Commission Members.
Coastal Commissioners are charged with implementing all aspects of the Coastal Act. They are all generalists and do not representative specific interests and are not appointed for specific areas of expertise. They are appointed as either an elected official (city councilperson or county supervisor) or a member of the public. There are six public members and six elected officials. This was a negotiated balance to ensure that there was accountability at the local level as Coastal Commission decisions have impacts on development in cities and counties as well as the preservation of the Coast and access to this precious resource. CSAC staff will continue to work with the author to propose amendments to address our concerns. The bill is currently on the Assembly Third Reading File.
Household Hazardous Waste
AB 45 (Mullin) – Oppose
As Amended January 21, 2016
AB 45, by Assembly Member Mullin, is set for hearing on June 15th in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee; however, the bill will most likely be heard on June 25th. The bill was last amended on January 21st. However, conversations with the author and proponents indicate that the bill will most likely be substantially amended to deal specifically with pharmaceutical and sharp take-back programs. It is our understanding that AB 45 may soon be amended to preempt local governments from enacting Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) ordinances tailored to the needs of individual communities. Amendments are currently not available.
Counties have exhibited leadership on this issue, developing and implementing EPR pharmaceutical programs at the local level that have been upheld by the courts despite numerous challenges from industry. We understand that local governments do have a role to play and would be interested in a broader discussion about what a statewide model ordinance might look like for pharmaceutical and sharps take-back programs. CSAC strongly opposes any preemption of local ordinances in this bill as this conversation and broader stakeholder process has yet to occur.