Major Environmental issues of 2010, other than those mentioned under the Energy and Utilities overview of this book, was delaying the election of the State Water Bond Act of 2009, as part of the 2009 water compromise and the defeat of Proposition 23 at the November General Election. SB 2 X7 (Cogdill) was enacted to place before the voters at the 2010 General Election, an $11.14 billion general obligation bond to fund water resources programs and projects. During 2010, it was determined by the various parties to the compromise that the Bond may have problems forming due to the severe economic condition the state was in. AB 1265 (Caballero) was enacted to delay the election on the Water Bond to the November 6, 2012 statewide election and the Secretary of State removed it from the 2010 ballot.
Proposition 23 on the November election ballot would have suspended the implementation of AB 32 of 2006 until unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for a full year. In 2006, the State enacted the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, commonly referred to as “AB 32”. This legislation established the target of reducing the State’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2020, to the level that emissions were at in 1990. It is estimated that achieving this target would result in approximately a 30% reduction in GHGs in 2020 from where their level would otherwise be in the absence of AB 32. AB 32 requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to adopt rules and regulations to achieve this reduction. The law also directs ARB, in developing these rules and regulations, to take advantage of opportunities to improve air quality, thereby creating public health benefits from the State’s GHG emission reduction activities.
Those in favor of the Proposition believed that suspending AB 32 would have saved jobs, prevented a tax increase, and would have maintained environmental protections guaranteed b y law. Those opposed indicated that the groups behind the Proposition were several Texas oil companies and if passed would result in more air pollution and health risks. The opposition also indicated that it would jeopardize California’s based clean energy business. The vote on Proposition 23 was 38.6% for the Proposition and 61.4% against it.
Another issue that developed at the end of the 2010 Session was the use of single-use carryout bags by shoppers. Current law requires operators of grocery stores and large retail stores that include a pharmacy to operate in-store recycling programs to take back plastic bags. Currently law provides that local governments may not implement separate recycling programs or impose fees on stores that meet these requirements. This requirement sunsets on January 1, 2013.
AB 1998 (Brownley) would have prohibited the use of single-use carryout bags by prohibiting grocery stores and convenience stores from providing such bags to customers after 2012. The bill defined “single-use carryout bag” as a bag made of plastic, paper, or other material, that is provided by a store to a customer at the point-of-sale and that is not a reusable grocery bag that meets specified requirements of the bill. A single-use carryout bag does not include a bag provided by a pharmacy to a customer purchasing a prescription medication, or a non-handled bag used to protect a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items when placed in a recycled paper bag or reusable bag. The bill became very controversial with the environmentalists supporting it and the business industries opposing it. Those in support indicated that the bill would have made an assist in the cleanup of litter from single-use bags which tend to end up in landfills, clogging stormdrain systems, and make their way to waterways and the ocean. They indicated that despite efforts to expand recycling programs, less than 5% of single-use plastic bags are currently being recycled and this bill would help eliminate plastic bag waste and prevent the proliferation of marine deaths. The opponents contended that by banning plastic bags, grocery stores would no longer be required to provide recycling bins to discard the bags which provides consumers with the opportunity to recycle other plastic wraps such as produce and bread bags, dry cleaning bags, wraps from paper towels, bathroom tissue, napkins, and event he plastic bags used to deliver newspapers. They were concerned that this could dismantle the plastic industry business. The bill failed passage by a vote of 14-21 on the Senate Floor. At the present time, the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Malibu, Fairfax, and Palo Alto have banned plastic bags.
Other Environmental legislation of note enacted into law included SB 51 (Ducheny) establishing the Salton Sea Restoration Council as a state agency in the Natural Resources Agency to oversee restoration of the Salton Sea; SB 228 (DeSaulnier) establishing labeling requirements for compostable plastic bags; SB 346 (Kehoe) restricting the use of copper and other toxic chemicals in automobile brake pads; SB 390 (Kehoe) extending, for 10 years, California’s Recycling Market Development Revolving Loan Program; SB 808 (Wolk) extending the sunset on the current Delta levee maintenance subvention programs 75%-25% reimbursement rate from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013; SB 855 (Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee) enacting the Resources 2010 Budget trailer bill; SB 918 (Pavley) requiring the Department of Public Health to establish standards for various types of water recycling; SB 929 (Pavley) prohibiting, starting January 1, 2012, a person from manufacturing, shipping, or selling children’s jewelry that contains cadmium at any level above 300 parts per million; SB 1006 (Pavley) expanding the list of eligible applicants for urban greening project and planning monies available from the Strategic Growth Council; SB 1058 (Harman) creating the Big Game Management Account and the Upland Game Bird Account within the Fish and Game Preservation Fund; SB 1179 (Hollingsworth) authorizing the Department of Fish and Game to designate two free hunt days per year; SB 1224 (Wright) authorizing an air district to adopt a rule or regulation that ensures district staff and resources are not used to investigate complaints alleging a nuisance odor violation that are determined to be repeated and unsubstantiated; SB 1284 (Ducheny) exempting certain Water Code violations of waste discharge reporting requirements from existing mandatory minimum penalties; SB 1303 (Wolk) extending the sunset of the “accidental take” exemption from the California Endangered Species Act prohibition on taking of threatened or endangered species to January 1, 2014; SB 1328 (Lowenthal) requiring the Air Resources Board (ARB) to consider specified matters if adopting or amending regulations to reduce motor vehicle cabin temperature in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; SB 1345 (Calderon) extending to 2016 the exemption from a ban on importing kangaroo parts contained in the existing law, if some reporting requirements are met; SB 1349 (Cogdill) allowing an experimental population of Chinook salmon to be reintroduced into the San Joaquin River as part of a settlement approved by the United States Congress; SB 1402 (Dutton) ensuring the ARB provide information on how they determine and assess penalties, as well as the lack of consistency from one violation to the next; SB 1443 (Simitian) extending the expiration date, until January 1, 2013, of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Multi-Hazard Coordination Task Force; SB 1450 (Simitian) allowing the Delta Stewardship Council to use expedited contracting processes for development of a long-term management plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary, which is due January 1, 2012; SB 1456 (Simitian) clarifying the circumstances under which cumulative effects are not required to be examined under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); AB 231 (Huber) authorizing a lead agency under CEQA, when using a tiered environmental impact report (EIR) based on a prior EIR that used a finding of overriding consideration, to use the prior finding of overriding consideration in the new EIR if specified conditions are met; AB 1260 (Fuller) extending the terms of the current California Water Commission members until May 14, 2014; AB 1343 (Huffman) establishing the architectural paint recovery program; AB 1504 (Skinner) requiring the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to ensure that its rules and regulations for harvesting timber consider the capacity of forest resources to sequester carbon dioxide sufficient to meet or exceed the state’s emission reduction goals for the forestry sector under AB 32 (Nunez) of 2006; AB 1788 (Yamada) changing the income threshold for additional flood control funding provided by the state to local governments, such that more low-income communities will qualify for increased funding; AB 1846 (V. Manuel Perez) expanding current law to allow use of a “focused” environmental impact report for installation of pollution control equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions to comply with the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006; AB 1930 (De La Torre) prohibiting the manufacture or sale of glass beads for use in certain kinds of blasting, if the beads contain more than 75 parts per million of arsenic or 100 parts per million of lead; AB 2125 (Ruskin) requiring the Ocean Protection Council to support the state’s use and sharing of scientific and geospatial information for coastal and ocean-relevant decision-making; AB 2351 (Chesbro) authorizing the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to assess recreational user fees for overnight camping and group activities on a demonstration state forest; AB 2376 (Huffman) requiring the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to convene a committee to develop and submit to the Governor and Legislature, a strategic vision for the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Fish and Game Commission; AB 2379 (Feuer) expanding the number of priority categories of hazardous waste generators that the Department of Toxic Substances Control must select for participation in the Department’s cooperative source reduction technical assistance and outreach program; AB 2398 (John A. Perez) requiring carpet manufacturers to implement stewardship programs to increase the recycling rate of carpet in the state; and AB 2503 (John A. Perez) establishing a program to allow for the partial removal of existing off shore oil platforms.
Vetoed Environmental legislation of note included SB 4 (Oropeza) which would have made it an infraction for an individual to smoke on a state beach or state park; SB 21 (Simitian) which would have directed DFG to publicize telephone numbers and Web addresses to which derelict fishing gear can be reported; SB 309 (Ducheny) which would have given preference for membership to the California Conservation Corps to emancipated foster and at-risk youth; SB 550 (Florez) which would have required the operator of an oil- and gas-well, to provide to the surface owner a 10-day written notice of intent to enter the surface owner’s property for the purpose of extraction of underlying oil, gas, or minerals; SB 991 (Wolk) which would have appropriated $30 million in bond funds from Proposition 1E for flood control projects that improve the sustainability of the Delta; SB 1173 (Wolk) which would have prohibited, conditionally, the use of raw water for nonpotable use if recycled water is available; SB 1334 (Wolk) which would have required natural community conservation planning to include cooperation with local entities; SB 1433 (Leno) which would have required ARB to adjust for inflation the maximum values for specific stationary source fines and that are enforced by the Board and by local air districts; SB 1454 (DeSaulnier) which would have repealed the existing separate requirements for “compostable” or “marine degradable” plastic bags and food packaging and replaces them with a uniform requirement for all plastic products; AB 234 (Huffman) which would have required (1) the Office of Spill Prevention and Response administrator to adopt regulations that would require booms to be deployed before all oil transfer operations, unless this pre-booming is determined not to be safe and effective, and (2) the State Lands Commission, on or before March 1, 2011, to report to the Legislature on regulatory action and statutory recommendations to ensure maximum safety and prevention of harm during offshore drilling; AB 737 (Chesbro) which would have established requirements for commercial recycling; AB 979 (T. Berryhill) which would have declared that the state fully occupies the fields of hunting and fishing, and that all local regulations are subject to that provision; AB 1405 (De Leon) which would have created a California Climate Change Community Benefits Fund in the State Treasury by requiring at least 10% of the revenues generated from the state sale of “compliance instruments for market-based compliance mechanisms” under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006; AB 1824 (Monning) which would have prohibited a person from using or selling a chemical that is detrimental to a sewage disposal system; AB 1834 (Solorio) which would have allowed a land-owner to install a rainwater recapture system to irrigate landscaping or recharging groundwater; AB 1956 (Monning) which would have allowed nonprofit organizations to help promote recovery of California condors by providing food for free-ranging condors to receive an exemption from prohibitions on the transport of dead animals; AB 2063 (Huffman) which would have designated the Chinook salmon as the official state anadromous fish; AB 2575 (Chesbro) which would have required the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to meet specified criteria when implementing pilot projects to protect riparian zones during timber harvesting; and AB 2664 (Chesbro) which would have prohibited certain activities on state lands under the State Lands Commission jurisdiction without an applicable easement, lease, or permit.
Also at the November 2010 Election, the voters defeated Proposition 21 which would have provided for an annual $18 vehicle license surcharge to fund state parks and wildlife programs and granting surcharged vehicles free admission to all state parks.