Resources Budget Trailer Bill Sent to Governor
September 2, 2016
SB 839, by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, was enrolled on Friday, August 26. This is the measure that would impose a new and excessive application fee for permits required to comply with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The proposed fees are brand new, not proposed for a phase-in, and would range in cost from $7,500 to $30,000. The bill would also provide the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) with the authority to charge an additional fee of up to $10,000 if the original fees are deemed to be insufficient.
CSAC is opposed to the proposed CESA fee. The new fees could be imposed on a wide range of county projects including flood control, road and bridge work and water management activities. CSAC has repeatedly noted our concern with the cumulative effect of the new fee on important public projects.
Also of interest to counties is the bill’s correction to Food and Agriculture Code Section 52334. Adopted in 2014 through enactment of Assembly Bill 2470 (Salas), this section prohibits a city, county, or district from enacting local ordinances regulating any plant, crop, or seed without obtaining prior consent from the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). CSAC is supportive of this change. We believe that replacing Section 52334 with language that states that “the declaration of a plant, seed, nursery stock, or crop as invasive is a power reserved for the secretary,” is necessary in order to be consistent with the original intent of the legislature.
This budget trailer bill also includes a wide range of changes to implement the resources, environmental protection, energy, and agriculture budget actions adopted as part of the 2016-17 Budget package. These changes include provisions that would:
- Increase penalties for taking an endangered, threatened, or candidate species. One-half of any collected fines or forfeitures would be deposited in the county treasury of the county in which the violation occurred and would require the other one-half to be deposited in the Endangered Species Permitting Account;
- Prohibit the breeding and theatrical performance of captive orcas in California, as well as their export out of North America, consistent with federal law;
- Propose various fee adjustments, including raising the drinking water program expenditure cap, eliminating the flat fee option for hazardous waste permits in lieu of fee for service and raising the fee on environmental license plates;
- Revise the definition of disadvantaged community to allow for public water system consolidation for communities with an annual median household income that is less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median, and that is served by a small public water system;
- Require the Natural Resources Agency to submit a report to the Legislature and the Legislative Analyst’s Office regarding the state’s response to the ongoing drought.