2021 State Priorities
We advocate in Sacramento, across the state, and in Washington, D.C. to expand access to democracy, to take bold action on climate, and to protect and enhance the land, air, water, and health of all California communities.
SB 1 (Atkins) Comprehensive Sea Level Rise Planning—SUPPORT
The Legislative Analyst’s Office’s 2019 report on the threat of sea level rise estimates that California could experience up to 7 feet of sea level rise by the year 2100, posing immeasurable risks to coastal ecosystems, livelihoods and economies, public access to the coast, private property, public infrastructure, water supplies, and the well-being and safety of coastal communities, including vulnerable populations. The LAO report also stated that if the state waits too long to initiate adaption efforts, inaction will cost the state as much as $150 billion, and that undertaking coastal adaptation activities is likely to be much less costly. SB 1 expands the duties of the California Coastal Commission to consider minimizing and mitigating damages from sea level rise in coastal resources planning and management policies. The bill also creates the California Sea Level Rise State and Regional Support Collaborative within the Ocean Protection Council to provide local and regional planning and mitigation strategies for sea level rise and adds $500 million to the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program to be used on sea level rise mitigation in disadvantaged communities.
SB 47 (Limon) Addressing Expenditure Limitations for Cleaning up Abandoned Oil Wells—SUPPORT
In 2018, the California Council on Science and Technology estimated that there are about 5,540 oil and gas wells in the state that are likely to become orphaned, meaning no oil company will take responsibility to pay for the cost of cleanup, resulting in potential taxpayer costs of roughly $500 million. SB 47 will indefinitely raise the cap on the California Geologic Energy Management Division’s current $3 million annual limit on spending from the Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administration Fund to $10 million annually for the plugging and abandonment of hazardous or idle-deserted oil and gas wells and decommissioning hazardous or deserted oil and gas facilities. The bill also allows for any unspent funds from a given year to be retained, up to $100 million, and rollover into another fund (the Oil and Gas Environmental Remediation Account) to help ensure that money is available in the event of very expensive cleanup operation. This bill ensures that polluters pay for their cleanup costs not the state’s taxpayers.
California Environmental Voters didn’t stop there, also championing the charge to make California the largest economy in the world to commit to 100 percent clean energy. SB 100, a commitment to 100 percent renewable, carbon-free power by 2045, met resistance from Assemblymembers who protected corporate interests over their communities. These oil industry diehards went on to resign from office, and EnviroVoters helped replace them with champions for environmental justice who voted proudly for the bill. It became law in 2018, cementing California as the nation’s leader in the fight against climate change.
SB 222 (Dodd) Low-Income Water Rate Assistance—SUPPORT
Access to affordable water is a racial justice and equity issue, and without action, California’s water debt crisis will prevent California from achieving an equitable COVID-19 pandemic recovery. While many low-income Californians receive electric and gas utility rate assistance, absent a statewide program, less than 20% of the state’s low-income population receives any benefits from a low-income water rate assistance programs which are operated by individual community water systems. SB 222 would establish a statewide Water Affordability Assistance Fund to help low-income ratepayers experiencing economic hardship with direct water bill assistance and other interventions that ensure those families continue to have residential water service.
SB 342 (Gonzalez) Environmental Justice Representation on the South Coast AQMD Board—SUPPORT
Within the South Coast air basin, which suffers from some of the worst air quality in the nation, sources of toxic pollution such as metal manufacturing facilities, oil and gas extraction sites, and other industrial operations are typically situated beside historically disadvantaged communities already suffering from disproportionally poor health outcomes. SB 342 will add two environmental justice seats to the South Coast Air Quality Management District board and require those members reside in and work directly with communities in the South Coast Air Basin that are disproportionately burdened by high levels of pollution. Given the disproportionate health and environmental impacts of air pollution on low income and communities of color, particularly in the South Coast air basin, it is critical to deliberately include environmental justice representation on the board who will make policy decisions regarding air quality in the region.
SB 343 (Allen) Truth in Environmental Advertising—SUPPORT
In California, less than 15 percent of single-use plastic is recycled, and financial strain on local recycling and waste programs is compounded by consumers lack a clear understanding on what is recyclable. Many consumers recognize the chasing arrows symbol on plastics as the symbol for “recyclable”, when in fact this is not an indicator of recyclability but rather the plastic resin identification coding (RIC) system, which classifies plastic types by numbers. SB 343 will reduce contamination of recycling streams and improve recycling rates by ending consumer confusion about which material is suitable for the recycling bin. The measure expands the existing “Truth in Environmental Advertising” law that prohibits the use of the word “recyclable” on unrecyclable products to include the use of the chasing-arrows symbol or any other suggestion that a material is recyclable, unless the material is recyclable in most California communities and is routinely sold to manufacturers to make new products.
AB 100 (Holden) Protecting People from Exposure to Lead from Faucets—SUPPORT
California’s “lead free” plumbing standard sets the allowable amount of lead in plumbing fixtures, but the state does not currently have a lead leaching standard in place and more than a quarter of the faucets on the market that meet California’s “lead free” standard were found to leach lead into the drinking water, especially in the first few weeks of use. AB 100 will significantly reduce Californians’ daily exposure to lead, a dangerous neurotoxin and carcinogen, by raising the standard for “lead free” pipes that provide drinking water to instead define “lead free,” to mean that the devices do not leach more than one microgram of lead.
AB 284 (Robert Rivas) Nature-Based Climate Solutions on Natural and Working Lands—SUPPORT
California’s natural and working lands comprise over 90% of the state and include biologically diverse landscapes like farmlands, rangelands, forests, deserts, wetlands, coastal areas, wildlife habitat, parks, and open-spaces, and have enormous potential to helping the state achieve our climate goals, providing co-benefits like improved air and water quality, food production, biodiversity conservation, recreation, and wildfire prevention, and making communities more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis. AB 284 would harness the potential of California’s natural and working lands by requiring the California Air Resources Board to identify a 2045 climate goal for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions reductions on the state’s natural and working lands as part of the state’s scoping plan, in support of the state’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
AB 525 (Chiu) Offshore Wind Energy Planning for a Clean Energy Future—SUPPORT
This bill will help the state achieve our goal of 100% clean energy by 2045, create over ten thousand jobs in the green economy, compliment the state’s solar energy resources by providing clean energy even after the sun goes down, and assist in planning for a clean and reliable electric system. AB 525 does this by requiring the California Energy Commission (CEC), by 2022, to create planning goals for offshore wind for 2030 and 2045. This bill also requires the CEC, in coordination with many state agencies and relevant federal state and local agencies, to develop a strategic plan for offshore wind development along the California coast in federal waters and to submit that plan to the Natural Resources Agency and the Legislature by 2022.
AB 585 (Luz Rivas) Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program—SUPPORT
In California, extreme heat events are now year-round, temperatures are rising more steeply, and heatwaves are lasting longer. Extreme heat is the climate change’s most life-threatening impact, and it disproportionately affects Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander communities. This bill would establish the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program within the Office of Planning and Research to coordinate the state’s efforts to address extreme heat and to implement regional and state climate change planning into effective projects, which may include things like expanding an area’s tree canopy, building with cool pavement, stationing drinking fountains and shade structures, and opening resilience hubs, through awarding competitive grants to eligible entities to implement those projects.
AB 896 (Bennett) Holding Polluters Accountable for Cleanup Costs—SUPPORT
As of 2019 the California Department of Conservation estimated that there were over 29,000 idle (not operated or maintained on a regular basis) oil and gas wells in the state. A number of these wells have gone unused and have not been properly cleaned up or plugged (sealed with cement) and can pose serious public health and safety threats to nearby communities as well as potential financial liability to the state to cover the cost of cleanup. AB 896 addresses this by giving the state lien authority to impose a claim or lien on property owned by bad-acting operators if an order is issued deeming an oil or gas well unsafe, if an operator fails to pay idle well fees, or if the cost of cleanup falls onto the state, in order to minimize the number of orphaned wells and ensure that the state has the oversight tools and ability to recover costs.
AB 1137 (Mullin) Expanding Automatic Voter Registration—SUPPORT
California has made great progress in protecting and expanding the right to vote and access to voting, yet there is more that can be done to address the continuing racial and age disparities in voter registration and participation. Automated voter registration (AVR) programs, such as the DMV’s New Motor Voter Program, shifts voter registration from an “opt-in” to an “opt-out” approach and requires that voter registration information be electronically transferred to election officials. For AVR to reach its full potential, however, and to reach a more diverse populace, California must implement AVR at other state agencies that currently register Californians to vote. AB 1137 aims to expand California’s existing automatic voter registration program by requiring the Secretary of State’s office to identify additional voter registration state agencies, pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act, that could implement automatic voter registration.
AB 1371 (Friedman) Phasing out Unnecessary Plastic Packaging—SUPPORT
In 2019 e-commerce purchases generated nearly 2.1 billion pounds of plastic worldwide, which included 469 million pounds in the United States alone. About one-third of the world’s population is buying online, and plastic packaging from e-commerce is estimated to double by 2025. AB 1371 will require a shift to non-plastic packaging that is recyclable, compostable, or reusable and accepted in curbside recycling bins. California can achieve this as it is already being done in other countries and practical packaging alternatives are already used here in California. This bill will help address the global plastics crisis by phasing out the unnecessary and unacceptable amount of single-use plastic used to ship online purchases in and into California.
AB 1395 (Muratsuchi) Achieving Carbon Neutrality—SUPPORT
As a global climate leader, it is critical that California have a comprehensive plan to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the scale needed to contribute to avoiding global temperature increases over 1.5 degrees Celsius, but also to achieve carbon neutrality by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration. AB 1395 codifies Governor Brown’s 2018 Executive Order B-55-18 by making it the policy of the state to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2045 and to maintain net negative emissions after that. This bill provides the necessary framework to achieving that goal, while ensuring that we are not continuing our reliance on fossil fuels, by utilizing the most effective strategies to enhance natural carbon sinks such as forests, soils, and oceans, and establishing criteria for technology-based solutions that remove carbon from the atmosphere in order to avoid increases in toxic pollution.
AB 1500 (Eduardo Garcia & Kevin Mullin) Climate Resilience Bond—SUPPORT IN CONCEPT
AB 1500 is a $6.95 billion general obligation bond to address the impacts of climate change. If passed by the Legislature, this bond measure would be placed on the June 7, 2022 Primary Election ballot. AB 1500 includes funding for wildfire prevention, forest resilience and wildfire risk reduction, coastal resiliency and planning, safe drinking water, drought preparation, flood protection, wildlife and ecosystem conservation, funding to address extreme heat, funding to protect farms, ranches, and working lands, and funding for regional climate resilience. This bond would require that at least 25% of the funds provide meaningful and direct benefits to vulnerable populations, under-resourced communities, or disadvantaged communities.
SB 45 (Portantino) Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022—SUPPORT IN CONCEPT
SB 45 is a $5.59 billion general obligation bond to address the impacts of climate change. If passed by the Legislature, this bond measure would be placed on the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot. SB 45 includes funding for wildfire prevention and community resilience from climate impacts, safe drinking water, protecting water supply and water quality from climate risks, urban streams and river parkways, protecting fish and wildlife from climate risks, protecting agricultural lands from climate risks, protecting coastal lands, bays, and oceans from climate risks, workforce development, and education.
SB 31 & 32 (Cortese) Building Decarbonization—SUPPORT
The building sector is responsible for a quarter of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that transitioning the building sector to be zero-emission is critical to ensuring that the state not only reaches our current climate goals, but that we achieve a healthy and livable future and create jobs for Californians. SB 31 would require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to identify and implement programs that promote building decarbonization for existing and new buildings as well as authorizes the CEC to use clean energy or energy efficiency funds available from federal economic relief funding towards projects that decarbonize existing and new buildings. SB 32 would require each city and county to update their general plan, climate action plan or greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, or building codes after 2023 to identify goals, policies, objectives, targets, and implementation strategies to decarbonize newly constructed commercial and residential buildings.
SB 99 (Dodd) Community Energy Resilience Act of 2021—SUPPORT
In response to climate-induced power outages, which have cost the California economy billions, homeowners, businesses, and utilities have been rapidly investing in new fossil fuel generators – expenditures which run counter to California’s environmental goals. It is critical that California invests in the development of locally driven community energy resilience based on clean energy. SB 99 requires the California Energy Commission to create a technical assistance grant program that will support local governments in creating community energy resilience plans. Community energy resilience plans will outline the strategy that each local government will use to maintain a reliable supply of electricity, a necessary planning step that will make it possible to utilize new federal, state, and private funds for needed build-out of local energy resilience infrastructure.
SB 260 (Weiner) – The Climate Corporate Accountability Act—SPONSOR
EnviroVoters is cosponsoring this bill with Carbon Accountable and Sunrise Bay Area. SB 260 closes a critical information gap that exists as a result of the lack of mandatory data collection and reporting requirements of comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reporting from the largest of carbon polluters. The bill looks specifically to the most profitable U.S. based corporations, who do business in California, with over $1 billion in annual revenue, and requires them to annually disclose their full carbon footprint, which includes scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions in a format that is accessible and understandable to the public, starting in 2024. This would be a first in the nation policy establishing a public right to know which large corporations are polluting our environmental commons, how much they are emitting, and if they are decreasing or increasing their emissions, offering a transparent and public way of verifying corporate claims of climate leadership.
SB 345 (Becker) Nonenergy Benefits—SUPPORT
Most low-income families in California spend a greater share of their income paying for energy bills, making it critical for the state to consider the social implications of clean energy programs in low income and disadvantaged communities. Ensuring that nonenergy benefits like reduced energy shutoffs, improved air quality and fire safety, and overall energy security for distributed energy resources programs and projects (solar, energy storage, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles) are all taken into consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) during their cost-effectiveness analysis will make these projects more equitable. SB 345 will require the CPUC to define and track nonenergy benefits, including environmental and social justice benefits, in addition to current cost-effectiveness calculations. The bill would also require the CPUC to attempt to determine values for those nonenergy benefits and to incorporate those benefits in distributed energy programs and projects.
SB 449 (Stern) Climate Financial Risk Disclosure—SUPPORT
California’s economy is increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change; from sea level rise impacting the coast, ongoing droughts affecting agriculture, fishing and critical ecosystems, and wildfires devastating entire communities. However, the financial and economic risks of climate change are not widely disclosed or evaluated to inform responsible investing and lending. SB 449 requires corporations, financial institutions and other businesses incorporated in California, with at least $500 million in revenues, to annually disclose to the Secretary of State their climate-related financial risk as well as the measures they are taking to reduce and adapt to climate-related financial risk. The bill also requires the Climate-Related Risk Disclosure Advisory Group, established following Governor Newsom’s 2019 Executive Order N-19-19, to review and analyze the disclosures and would identify systemic risks and trends to inform public policies that would address climate-related financial risks to California’s economy.
AB 30 (Kalra) The Human Right to Nature Act—SUPPORT
Access to public land, nature, and a healthy environment should be a right for all Californians. This bill establishes access to nature and access to the benefits of nature as a human right, especially for those living in communities that have historically lacked access to nature. AB 30 also directs state agencies to prioritize investments and access to nature to communities in need, including communities of color, Indigenous Peoples, and economically disadvantaged communities. This bill will help advance and promote the state’s goals to protect biodiversity and support our state’s climate goals set out under Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-82-20 in October 2020.
AB 377 (Robert Rivas) Ensuring Clean Water with the California Clean Water Act—SUPPORT
Five decades after Congress passed the Clean Water Act of 1972, over 90% of California’s waterways are still polluted, or “impaired”, due to pollutants being discharged into waterways, which impact human health, critical ecosystems, and result in the loss of native species. AB 377 sets a goal for achieving state water quality standards by 2050 by requiring the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards to evaluate impaired surface waters and report to the State Legislature, by 2023, a plan to restore waterways by ensuring that all water meets water quality standards by 2050, with updated reports on progress every five years. The bill also requires the State Water Board to prioritize enforcement of water quality standard violations that are causing excessive water pollution.
AB 1087 (Chiu) Environmental Justice Community Resilience Hubs Program—SUPPORT
In California, we are directly witnessing the ways that historic disinvestment in impacted communities have manifested into disproportionate harms across a range of intensifying and frequently occurring climate disasters. Community resilience hubs are spaces where communities gather, organize, and access social services not only during disasters, but on a daily basis. AB 1087 requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create a pilot grant program for whole building upgrades towards the creation of resilience hubs in critical community facilities located in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, using 5% of funds from the annual utility greenhouse gas allowance revenue, or California Climate Credit, for five years. These building upgrades will reduce local pollution, provide access to clean energy, improve safety and affordability, and improve community resilience against the worsening effects of the climate crisis, including wildfires, power shutoffs, extreme heat, and flooding.
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