Positive trend in new environmental bills

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 10, 2006

This year a surprisingly large number of reasonably positive bills have been introduced. 

Recycling
AB 2127 (George Plescia, R-San Diego) requires a report from the Integrated Waste Management Board on the impact of alkaline battery disposal into normal trash, solutions and estimated costs for battery recycling infrastructure. 

Green Building
Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has introduced a spot bill, AB 2160, that is intended to study and recommend voluntary green building guidelines and incentives for new residential housing.

Air Quality
Assemblymember Michael Villines (R-Clovis) in AB 2151 would like to require the State Air Resources Board to abide by the same rules as the regional air districts and provide public cost effectiveness figures for control measures.  To reduce air pollution, AB 1901 (Shirley Horton, R-Chula Vista) provides a program to loan money to assist retrofitting truck fleets of 5 to 10 trucks with up to two years to repay. 

Flood Control
Assemblymember Greg Aghazarian (R-Stockton) has authored AB 2026 relating to  Flood Control. It would require the Reclamation Board in the Department of Water Resources to put the health and safety of the public before environmental and wildlife concerns when making decisions.  AB 2659 (Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City) would prohibit the use of state funds, personnel, or resources for a feasibility study relating to the restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley until the Legislative Analyst determines that certain levee work, capital improvement projects and evaluations have been completed.  Assemblymember Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) proposed a bill, AB 1877 – Streambed Alteration agreements: levee or flood control systems: notification.  The bill allows for an expedited undertaking of flood control maintenance if a proposed change is minor in nature.

CEQA Reform
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) has proposed SB 1191, a CEQA reform, which would create a shorter form to reduce time and save money.  Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) also has a CEQA bill, SB 1705, that would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission in the Resources Agency to develop and implement an expedited process for CEQA review for a project proposal to upgrade, replace or modify energy infrastructure that will be undertaken along an existing energy corridor or utility right-of-way and that returns the habitat to pre-existing conditions or enhances the habitat.  A bill regarding CEQA mitigation measures, SB 1814, was introduced by Senator Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch).  It would require the Secretary of the Resources Agency by July 1, 2007, and annually thereafter, to report on the types and effectiveness of a representative sample of mitigation measures adopted by state and local agencies.

Groundwater Management
Senator Mike Machado (D-Linden) has introduced SB 1795 which declares that recharging of a groundwater basin for the purpose of storage constitutes a beneficial use of water if it is consistent with management objectives set forth in a local agency’s groundwater management plan.  Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego) has authored a bill, SB 1286, which would establish a binational council to address air quality issues in the Calexico-Mexicali Air Basin to identify goals, strategies and actions that could be taken to improve air quality basin-wide.

CMTA will continue to follow and support these and a number of other positive bills wherever possible.

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