Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources News Briefs
September 22, 2016
Final CalEnviroScreen Webinar Next Week – CSAC Seeking Comments
As CSAC recently reported, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released a draft of CalEnviroScreen Version 3.0. CalEnviroScreen is the environmental and socioeconomic screening and mapping tool that has been used to identify disadvantaged communities that bear disproportionate exposure and sensitivity to pollution for the purpose of investing cap and trade auction proceeds and other state funding. OEHHA is holding its final public webinar on the draft update on Wednesday, September 28, from 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM.
The major changes in version 3.0 include updated data for the indicators, changes in the way some indicators are calculated, additional data for some indicators to better reflect environmental conditions or population vulnerability to pollution, and the removal of the “children and elderly” age indicator, which has been replaced with an analysis of age. Finally, the updated draft includes two new socioeconomic indicators: rent-adjusted income, which accounts for high rent burdens for low income residents, and heart attack rates, which identify populations that may be especially vulnerable to the health effects of pollution.
CSAC staff is in the process of reviewing the revised draft. OEHHA has requested comments by Friday, October 21, to CalEnviroScreen@oehha.ca.gov. CSAC would appreciate any feedback from counties by Friday, October 14, to email@example.com.
Water Board Groundwater Fee Update On Its Way
The State Water Resources Control Board is planning to release soon a proposed fee schedule for the costs associated with their implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
A public meeting is scheduled for Friday, October 7, 1:30 – 4:30 pm, at CalEPA, where the Board will be seeking input on the proposed fee “concepts.” The feedback provided will be used to inform the development of emergency regulations. The draft regulations will be made available for formal public comment in the early spring of 2017. At the time of this article’s preparation the draft fee scheduled had yet to be published, however counties are encouraged to monitor the Board’s website for its eventual release and for details about the October 7 meeting.
By way of background, SGMA requires the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies in California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins by June 30, 2017. SGMA further requires these agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans that will bring basins into sustainability within 20 years of plan implementation. When local or regional agencies cannot or will not manage their groundwater sustainably, the law authorizes the Board to intervene until the local agencies develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans.
The Board is required to develop a fee schedule for the purposes of recovering programmatic costs associated with these activities. Specifically, the proposed fee schedule will apply to groundwater extraction reporting, probationary basin reporting, management activities, and interim plan development. Additional information regarding SGMA is available here.