We have reached the second great milestone in the California legislative calendar. May 31 is the date any bill must pass from its house of origin to the other house to continue its consideration for this year.
We are most excited about the prospects of AB 904. This bill offers the best package for allowing forestland to remain forested that we have seen in years, because it addresses the regulatory/economic burdens that render private forestland unprofitable.
Forestry interests are generally in favor of the bill, although there is room for improvements. Environmental interests are split – those that actually manage land like the Nature Conservancy and the various land trusts tend to favor it, those that make their living on activism and lawsuits like the Sierra Club and the Center for Biodiversity are against it.
We expect lively opposition to AB 976 from the Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau and the Coastal Commission have knocked heads over the years about what is normal agricultural cycles and rotations and what is a change in usage requiring a permit.
We dislike the trend to make laws protecting animals based on their cuteness factor like AB 1213 and SB 132. These decisions should be made at the policy level within Fish and Wildlife and should be based on population health and threat to public health, safety and economic loss. One newspaper article about the fate of mountain lion cubs found under a house in a suburban setting should not dictate the full range of responses to human/mountain lion encounters.
For the remainder of these bills, it was small parts embedded within them that attracted our attention. We are interested in changes to CEQA reporting requirements, since they could roll into THP reporting requirements. Fuels and energy rules remain a concern. We need fuel to power our equipment and are worried about rules that would force us to retire our equipment prematurely. We remain interested in carbon sequestration/greenhouse gas rules, since, as a recognized carbon sink, we may get pulled into the game whether we want to or not. AB 763 documents a requirement to have all the agencies associated with a problem/project coordinate with each other. It may involve only invasive aquatic plants at this stage, but it’s a start. SB 731 has a nugget that requires measurable standards for CEQA compliance like permissible noise levels. Once again, this context of this change is currently limited, but its a start.
The survivors on the CCFA legislative list are:
- AB 37 – Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act: record of proceedings
- AB 278 – California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Low Carbon Fuel Standard
- AB 374 – Eminent domain: compensation: loss of goodwill.
- AB 383 – a Maintenance of the Codes bill
- AB 497 – Fish and Wildlife
- AB 502 – Commercial law: secured transactions
- AB 763 – Aquatic invasive plants: control and eradication
- AB 904 – Forestry: working forest management plan
- AB 976 – Coastal resources: California Coastal Act of 1976:enforcement: penalties
- AB 1097 – Fish and Game Commission:Mirage Trail
- AB 1188 – Fire Protection: general obligation bonds
- AB 1213 – Bobcat protection act of 2013
- AB 1295 – Public utilities: renewable energy
- AB 1330 – Environmental Justice
- AB 1331 – Water resources: assessments of public funding
- SB 1 – Sustainable Communities Investment Authority
- SB 11 – Alternative fuel and vehicle technologies: funding programs
- SB 132 – Mountain lions
- SB 181 – Validations
- SB 183 – Validations
- SB 436 – California Environmental Quality Act: notice
- SB 633 – CEQA: environmental impact reports
- SB 731 – Environment: California Environmental Quality Act and sustainable communities strategy
- SB 749 – Habitat protection: endangered species
As usual, all the information and links into the legislation itself can be found on our table.