AENR Bills of Interest
June 30, 2016
Well Drilling Bill Pulled
SB 1317 (Wolk) – Oppose
As Amended June 20, 2016
SB 1317 was pulled from committee this week by the author and will not move forward this year. As previously reported this bill, would require a city or county overlying a basin designated as a high or medium priority basin to establish a process for the issuance of groundwater extraction permit, which is yet to be defined, for the development of a groundwater extraction facility in order to prevent that facility from contributing to or creating an undesirable result. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was premised on local control. CSAC and its local government partners asserted that the “one size fits all” approach as outlined in SB 1317 would have undermined both the premise and spirit of SGMA.
CSAC Supports Stormwater Capture Bill
AB 2594 (Gordon) – Support
As Amended May 19, 2016
AB 2594, by Assembly Member Richard Gordon, would authorize a public entity that captures stormwater, in accordance with a stormwater resource plan and consistent with a municipal separate storm sewer system permit (MS4 permit) before the water reaches a natural channel, to use the captured water.
Regional Water Quality Control Boards are mandating in some areas of the state stormwater capture through NPDES MS4 Permits. Affected counties have expressed concern that these mandates may conflict with existing water rights and place municipalities and counties at risk of litigation from local water agencies if they enforce the stormwater capture terms of their MS4 permits. CSAC supports AB 2594 because it would give counties added assurance that they can move forward legally with stormwater capture projects that increase local water supply and improve water quality.
AB 2594 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on Tuesday, June 28. To address the concerns of opponents regarding water rights issues, the author accepted amendments that would clarify that the bill would not: alter or impair any existing water rights; change existing water rights law; interfere with, amend, or supersede any existing water rights adjudication or other legally mandated water management plan; or create a groundwater pumping right where a pumping right does not already exist. The bill now moves onto the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Pharmaceutical Bill Dies in Committee
AB 45 (Mullin) – Oppose
As Amended January 21, 2016
AB 45, by Assembly Member Mullin, was not taken up in the last policy committee and will not move forward. As you may recall, this bill in all its various iterations dealt with Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), sharps and pharmaceutical waste. Amendments proposed by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee would have sought to narrow the bill to apply solely to Los Angeles County to develop a pilot program on these projects in exchange for local preemption of any pharmaceutical take-back program, an issue the county is currently working on. This was done without consultation or discussion with the county. The author declined to take up the bill in Committee, but did state his intention to continue to work on the issue in the future.
Coastal Commission Bill Amended in Committee
AB 2616 (Burke) – Neutral
As Amended May 31, 2016
AB 2616, by Assembly Member Burke, was passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water committee with amendments this week. As you may recall, this bill would have increased 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 worked to develop alternative amendments to the bill that would retain its existing composition, with six local elected appointees and six public appointees. The Committee proposed amendments that retain the 12 voting member status and would incorporate three environmental justice representatives into the existing structure of the Coastal Commission. Specifically, the amendments would do the following:
- Provide that one of the four appointees by each appointing authority represents disadvantaged communities on a selection schedule determined by each appointing authority.
- Provide that each appointee pursuant to Amendment 1 reside in a disadvantaged community or a community historically disproportionately affected by environmental impacts, and that each appointee has demonstrated a commitment to environmental justice.
- Add appropriate cross-reference to the Civil Rights Act.
The bill will move to the Senate Appropriations Committee next.