CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC AENR Seeking Feedback on Climate Resiliency and Wildfire Bills

February 11, 2021

The CSAC AENR team would like input on the following pieces of introduced legislation relating to resiliency and wildfires. If you have any comments or feedback, please email Nick Cronenwett, Legislative Analyst.

SB 1 (Atkins), This bill would enact the Sea Level Rise (SLR) Mitigation and Adaptation Act of 2021. Specifically, the Act would direct the Coastal Commission to incorporate SLR in its planning, policies, and activities; establish a new state level SLR Collaborative overseen by Secretaries of Natural Resources and CAL-EPA to disseminate information; and establish consistent funding for local governments and communities to plan for and mitigate SLR. CSAC is seeking input from counties regarding the potential implementation of this program and its potential to help counties that are threatened by sea-level rise.

SB 83 (Allen), This bill would create the Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Program within California’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank)  to provide low-interest loans to local jurisdictions for the purchase of coastal properties in their jurisdictions identified as vulnerable coastal property. The bill would require the California Coastal Commission, before January 1, 2023, in consultation with the California Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission, and any other applicable state, federal, and local entities with relevant jurisdiction and expertise, to determine criteria and guidelines for the identification of vulnerable coastal properties eligible for participation in the program. The bill would authorize specified local jurisdictions to apply for, and be awarded, a low-interest loan under the program if the local jurisdiction develops and submits to the bank a vulnerable coastal property plan. The bill would require the California Coastal Conservancy to review these plans to determine whether they meet the required criteria for vulnerable coastal properties to be eligible for participation in the program. In addition, the bill would authorize the I-Bank to issue bonds to generate revenue for a Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Fund. CSAC is seeking input from counties regarding the implementation of this program and its potential to help counties that are threatened by sea-level rise.

AB 21 (Bauer-Kahan), This bill would allow the Attorney General or a District Attorney to bring action against utility providers for violations of vegetative clearance requirements around power lines and would allow for civil penalties of up to $100,000 per violation. In addition, the bill would impose a fine of up to $1000 per acre burned if violations of these clearance standards were violated and in turn caused a fire. The bill would create a new fund in the state treasury to hold collected penalties. The fund could be used for future forest management, fire planning, wildfire prevention and suppression, and fire related enforcement activities. Fines collected under this proposed bill would be split 50% through the existing process for successful civil penalty violations and 50% into the newly established state fund. CSAC is seeking input regarding this 50/50 division of potential civil fines.

AB 51 (Quirk), This bill would require the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to establish guidelines for the formation of regional climate adaptation planning groups by July 1st, 2022. The bill would also require the SGC, in consultation with the Natural Resources Agency and Office of Emergency Services, to develop criteria for the development of regional climate adaptation plans. These plans would be required to include key regional priorities for climate adaptation, a regional vulnerability assessment, development of adaptation strategies, and “meaningful public participation” in the development of the plan.  CSAC is requesting feedback regarding county interest in the development of regional climate adaptation planning groups and plans.

Again, if you have any comments or feedback, please email Nick Cronenwett, Legislative Analyst.

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