Environmental Quality

The most significant piece of legislation relating to the environment that was enacted was AB 32 (Nunez) which establishes a first in the world comprehensive regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve cost effective reductions of greenhouse gas. It requires the Air Resources Board to develop regulations and market mechanisms which has its goal reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Mandatory caps would begin in 2012 for significant sources and be ratcheted down to meet the 2020 goals. Other major legislation was AB 140 (Nunez), AB 142 (Nunez), and AB 1039 (Nunez) which provides funding for and streamlines environmental regulation for repairing levees, and SB 1379 (Perata/Ortiz) which was enacted establishing the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program.

Other significant environmental quality legislation enacted this year included SB 225 (Soto) allowing the Air Resources Board to determine a higher cost effectiveness threshold (in $/ton of oxides of nitrogen) for the purpose of making grants under the Carl Moyer Air Quality Program, based on consumer price index adjustments; SB 354 (Escutia) encouraging the cleanup of more brownfield sites by allowing more types of properties to participate in the process established by the California Land Environmental Restoration and Reuse Act; SB 369 (Simitian) extending the sunset date and making program enhancements to the rubberized asphalt concrete grant program at the California Integrated Waste Management Board; SB 420 (Simitian) applying existing recycled-content requirements for road paving projects undertaken by the Department of Transportation all paving construction and repair projects; SB 497 (Simitian) requiring the California State Lands Commission to adopt regulations on performance standards for ballast water on or before January 1, 2008; SB 729 (Simitian) strengthening the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act; SB 841 (Hollingsworth) authorizing state or local fire officials to approve a defensible space of up to 300 feet to protect specified critical facilities from fire; SB 989 (Senate Environmental Quality Committee) creating a program akin to the program currently available to a bona fide purchaser under the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act to be available to a bona fide ground tenant, as defined; SB 1070 (Kehoe) requiring the establishment of the California Water Quality Monitoring Council; SB 1294 (Ducheny) exempting from the hazardous waste control laws any geothermal wastes from the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy if such wastes are contained within the operating system of that same facility; SB 1305 (Figueroa) prohibiting a person from knowingly placing home-generated sharps waste in the commercial and residential solid waste collection containers after September 1, 2008; SB 1344 (Chesbro) providing manufacturers of rigid plastic packaging containers with additional options to comply with the state’s recycling requirements; SB 1347 (Machado) expanding and making permanent the regulatory framework at the State Water Resources Control Board that allows use of a solar evaporator system as one means to control or reduce potentially harmful high-salt content agricultural drainage into surface water and groundwater; SB 1360 (Kehoe) requiring the Secretary of the Resources Agency to establish a public registry of conservation easements; SB 1535 (Kuehl) enhancing the Fish and Game Commission’s responsibilities and duties including requiring the commission to adopt a conflict of interest code; SB 1556 (Torlakson) requiring the Delta Protection Commission to establish a continuous trail around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; SB 1574 (Kuehl) creating a cabinet-level committee chaired by the Secretary of the Resources Agency to develop a strategic vision for a sustainable Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; SB 1686 (Kuehl) authorizing the Wildlife Conservation Board when it prioritizes funds available for proposed acquisitions, to take into account the potential of forest lands to beneficially reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions; SB 1733 (Aanestad) and AB 1752 (Levine) strengthening the ability of publicly-owned treatment works serving small communities with financial hardship assistance to correct violations and other conditions of noncompliance; SB 1845 (Kuehl) adding two public members to the Ocean Protection Council, and SB 1846 (Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee) restructuring the State Lands Commission’s regulatory authority over underwater salvage operations on the state’s tide and submerged lands.

Assembly environmental legislation of note enacted included AB 287 (Negrete-McLeod) allowing a state agency to request from manufacturers or importers of chemicals, information necessary for detecting the chemical’s presence in the environment; AB 371 (Goldberg) enacting the Water Recycling Act of 2006 to encourage the production and use of recycled water; AB 601 (Berg) extending the operation of the Commercial Salmon Trollers Enhancement and Restoration Program and the Dungeness Crab fishing law; AB 679 (Calderon) allowing the importation of diesel fuel that meets specified criteria; AB 797 (Wolk) allowing the owners of contracted land within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s secondary zone to use the rescission method to end their contracts, provided that the other land is also within the Delta’s primary or secondary zone, and expanding the Delta Protection Commission’s membership from 21 to 23 members; AB 798 (Wolk) extending the sunset on the Delta Flood Protection Fund and the 75-25 state cost-sharing formula for levee maintenance or improvement projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to 2010, subject to certain conditions; AB 874 (Wolk) enacting the Avian Influenza Surveillance Act to provide a plan for the surveillance, sampling diagnostic testing and reporting avian influenza in wild birds in this state; AB 1341 (Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee) extending the sunset for the California Pollution Control Financing Authority’s Sustainable Communities Grant and Loan Program from 2007 to 2012, and increasing the total amount available for grants and loans to cities and counties from $5 million to $7.5 million; AB 1387 (Jones) allowing, under the California Environmental Quality Act, a lead agency to approve a residential project on an urban infill site without having to mitigate or make a finding of overriding consideration for significant impacts on traffic in an environmental impact report, as specified; AB 1559 (Frommer) enhancing and strengthening the Urban Parks Act; AB 1430 (Goldberg) requiring that the Air Resources Board’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice review each methodology used to calculate the value of air emission reductions credits updated by the board; AB 1681 (Pavley) prohibiting the manufacture, shipping, sale, or offering for sale of jewelry, children’s jewelry, or jewelry used in body piercing that is not made entirely from certain specified materials to conform with a recent judiciary ruling; AB 1803 (Assembly Budget Committee) implementing the resources statutes of the state budget; AB 1870 (Lieber) requiring the Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair to incorporate a visible smoke test into the vehicle inspection and maintenance program (smog check) by January 1, 2008; AB 1881 (Laird) reauthorizing the Department of Water Resources to prepare a new and updated model local water efficient landscape ordinance for adoption by local governments; AB 1953 (Chan) tightening standards that pipes and other plumbing parts must meet in order to be termed “lead free”; AB 1992 (Canciamilla) strengthening the existing prohibitions against illegal dumping of solid waste on public and private property; AB 2144 (Montanez) revising the public participation procedures required in the response plan for different agencies with oversight over the cleanup of certain brownfield sites to conform with a Brownfields Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Toxic Substances Control and regional water quality control boards; AB 2147 (Harman) prohibiting a person from selling a plastic food or beverage container in the state that is labeled compostable, biodegradable, degradable, or anyway that implies the container will break down in a landfill, composting, marine, or other environment unless the container meets a specified American Society for Testing and Materials standard specification for the term used on the label; AB 2155 (Wolk) providing an exemption for pharmaceutical neutralization activities from the requirement to obtain a hazardous waste facility permit; AB 2211 (Karnette) expanding the Solid Waste Disposal and Codisposal Cleanup Program within the California Integrated Waste Management Board; AB 2253 (Hancock) providing for the impoundment or forfeiture of the vehicles used in illegal dumping when the dumping is either of commercial quantities or hazardous and the person has prior similar convictions; AB 2268 (Saldana) allowing the Department of Fish and Game to issue a free sport fishing license to an eligible nonprofit group for day-fishing trips that provide recreational rehabilitation therapy for active duty members of the United States military currently receiving inpatient care in a military hospital; AB 2276 (Pavley) requiring the Air Resources Board, to develop and adopt regulations to reduce emissions of ozone from non-commercial, indoor air cleaning devices by December 31, 2008; AB 2296 (Montanez) requiring the California Integrated Waste Management Board to conduct a study and adopt regulations to define conditions and address financial assurance mechanisms that potentially affect the closure and postclosure maintenance periods of landfills; AB 2449 (Levine) requiring store operators to establish a recycling program that provides an opportunity for a store customer to return a plastic carryout bag back to the store; AB 2485 (Jones) establishing the California Sea Otter Fund to be funded through an income tax checkoff and other sources for the increased enforcement and research to protect sea otters; AB 2497 (Laird) providing review and reevaluating the state’s current processes for resource land acquisitions; AB 2515 (Ruskin) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to prepare a report describing the progress of regulatory mechanisms which encourage water conservation consistent with the Water Action Plan; AB 2582 (Mullin) requiring the California Government Online to Desktops program be updated periodically to include emerging industries that would benefit from information on permitting and regulatory compliance; AB 2587 (Liu) extending the Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Cleanup Act of 2005 to a mobilehome or manufactured home located on private property; AB 2641 (Coto) providing additional procedures to be followed after the discovery of Native American human remains on privately-owned land; AB 2746 (Blakeslee) clarifying that local and state public agencies may allow nonprofit organizations to accept and hold real property interests required by the agency to mitigate adverse impacts upon natural resources of a permitted project or facility; AB 2773 (Berg) extending the steelhead trout report-restoration card program to 2013 and clarifying the areas where Dungeness crab vessel permits are valid; AB 2843 (Saldana) deleting the sunset date on the law requiring that air districts with a population of one million residents or more expend certain funds intended to reduce vehicular emissions in a manner that directly reduces air contaminants in communities with the most significant exposure, including, but not limited to, communities of minority or low-income populations; AB 2861 (Ridley-Thomas) increasing the penalties for a person who fails to abate a lead hazard after receiving an order form an enforcement agency; AB 2900 (Plescia) establishing a voluntary California Natural Landmarks program patterned after the National Natural Landmarks program; AB 2995 (Nunez) increasing the minimum value of property which is acquired by the California Tahoe Conservancy that is subject to the Property Acquisition Law; AB 3003 (La Malfa) limiting to five percent the amount of bond funds that could be used by the Department of Water Resources for program administration costs; AB 3038 (Ruskin) revising the qualifications that the California Conservation Corps must meet prior to receiving state funds for litter and recycling programs; and AB 3056 (Assembly Natural Resources Committee) clarifying and enhancing the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act .

Environmental quality legislation vetoed of note included SB 187 (Soto) authorizing the Department of Health Services to consider potential health effects in assessing economic feasibility for maximum contaminant levels; SB 403 (Machado) requiring the administrator of Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response to convene a Chemical Tanker Task Force; SB 927 (Lowenthal) imposing a fee on containers that are discharged at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in order to fund rail system improvements, pollution mitigation measures, and port security enhancements; SB 960 (Simitian) requiring the Department of Toxic Substances Control to post on its Internet web site links to information regarding substitutes to materials posing hazards to public health and the environment; SB 982 (Senate Environmental Quality Committee) requiring the enforcement coordinator at the Department of Toxic Substances Control to establish and maintain a web site for receiving reports concerning violations of the state’s hazardous waste laws and requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to report quarterly on the status of compliance with various underground storage tank laws; SB 1395 (Ducheny) requiring a lead agency that determines a project is subject to specified exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act to notify Native American tribes that have an interest in the project area; SB 1640 (Kuehl) amending disclosure requirements for certain information as to water use and planning; SB 1796 (Florez) which renamed the Reclamation Board the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, restructured the appointment process of the board and established conflict-of-interest and ex-parte rules for board members; SB 1835 (Florez) preventing landfills from being approved via the local initiative process and thereby potentially skirting state, local and federal laws, including planning, zoning, siting and conditional use permits; AB 966 (Saldana) allowing various state and local water agencies to collaborate on the design, construction and permitting of international wastewater treatment facilities near the California-Baja California boarder; AB 1337 (Ruskin) providing for the Green Building Act of 2006 to establish green building standards for the building and renovation of state buildings; AB 2092 (Hancock) requiring applicable agencies to take actions regarding the intrusion of hazardous vapors in urban infill; AB 2206 (Montanez) modifying current law to encourage improved solid-waste management at multifamily dwellings and events held at facilities owned by regional agencies (such as regional parks); AB 2444 (Klehs) allowing individual counties in the Bay Area, as well as the Bay Area Quality Management District to each impose a vehicle registration fee surcharge in order to fund transportation and air and water quality mitigation projects; AB 2490 (Ruskin) authorizing the Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt regulations to replicate the existing federal toxic release inventory programs; AB 2823 (Ruskin) increasing air districts’ accountability to provide timely and accurate information to the public, and assist small businesses with meeting air district regulations; AB 2838 (Pavley) authorizing a fee of up to $6, in coastal and Bay Area counties, to be paid with vehicle registration and renewals in order to fund specified environmental mitigation projects; and AB 3028 (Laird) authorizing a state agency providing a grant or a permit for a public development project located along the California Coastal Trail to require that the project provide public access to the trail.

NOTE: The 2006 November General Election ballot includes Proposition 84 which funds water, flood control, and natural resources and conservation programs by allowing $5.388 billion in general obligation bonds. (Placed on ballot by initiative.)