PCL’s 2022 Legislative Recap
Another Californian legislative session is in the books, and it was a doozy, with major legislation on the full range of issues PCL is engaged in—water, wildlife, housing, transportation, and wildfire… wrapped up by a last minute, precedent-setting climate package.
On balance, we had a very good year, with most bills PCL supported having passed, and most that we opposed having failed. But we had some losses too, and there are still bills waiting for the Governor’s action on some very important Items. Here are some highlights.
AB 2438 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
PCL has worked tirelessly with Assembly Member Freidman, sponsor ClimatePlan, and many other partners in support of AB 2438, which will require that the guidelines of the State’s major transportation funding programs be updated to incorporate the principles and strategies of the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI). Further, the bill will require for the first time that the California Transportation Plan (CTP) include a financial element that will help identify alignment and prioritization of state investments with that of our Regional Transportation Plans and Sustainable Communities Strategies.
These overdue and commonsense improvements will help ensure that our the state’s transportation spending is in alignment with our climate and equity mandates, and AB 2438 needs your support now.
Please send a note to the Governor here:
Formal letters can also be submitted to this address:
SB 1205 (Support) – Signed
PCL sponsored this bill with Senator Allen, which was one of the top priorities of PCL’s Water Law Reform report published earlier this year. SB 1205 would direct the State Water Resources Control Board to develop regulations that govern consideration of climate change in water availability analyses used in the Board’s review of applications for water rights permits. This is an overdue and essential step towards ensuring the long-term resilience of California’s water supply.
Two other bills that came from PCL’s report had different fates. AB 2108 (Support), sponsored by CA Coast Keeper, has been signed, requiring environmental justice, tribal, and racial equity impact analysis, findings and reporting on policy decisions and permit processing. Unfortunately, the requirement for environmental justice experience and representation on the SWRCB and regional boards was cut from the final bill. AB 2639 (Support) failed, which would have required the State Board to adopt a final update of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan before approving any new water right permits or extensions.
SB 1410 (oppose) – Failed
PCL led the opposition of more than 50 organizations to this bill that would have eliminated the new vehicle-miles-travelled (VMT) methodology for analyzing transportation impacts under CEQA. Under pressure of this opposition the bill was largely gutted in its first committee, and eventually failed to pass Assembly Appropriations, in one of our biggest wins of the season.
The Governor’s climate package:
The full historic package of bills signed into law two weeks ago can be found here, but here are some key bills PCL was engaged in.
SB 1314 (Support) – Signed
Prohibits Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies for the purposes of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
SB 1137 (Support) – Signed
Would impose 3,200 ft. set back rule from oil wells from residential and public uses. Almost three million people live within 3,200 feet of an oil well in California, the vast majority of which are low-income people of color. This is a huge win for the communities and environmental justice advocates that have been fighting for this for years.
AB 1757 (Support) – Signed
Would mandate development of a methodology and targets for natural and working land landscape-carbon values for integration into Air Resources Board’s GHG Reduction Scoping Plan.
SB 905 (Opposed) – Signed
Establishes a guidelines development program for carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) practices. The efficacy of CCUS strategies is questionable at best, and PCL does not think the state should be relying on these dangerous technologies to meet our climate mandates.
SB 867 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
Would kick-start and enhance planning requirements for considering sea-level rise.
These bills offer differing approaches to by-right approval of infill housing projects on underutilized commercial office, retail, and parking parcels, that meet various criteria. The basic concept is something PCL strongly supports, but, as with all CEQA streamlining bills for housing, PCL’s position on these bills is very nuanced. We were able to help strengthen these bills in multiple ways, but ultimately feel that streamlining incentives of this magnitude should be further targeted to low-VMT, more location efficient areas.
AB 2334 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
Would expand “density bonus” incentives for 100% affordable housing projects to low-VMT areas, which marks the first time the low-VMT area has been encoded in law outside of the CEQA guidelines.
SB 886 (Neutral) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
A CEQA exemption for on-campus student housing meeting various strict conditions. PCL could not get to Support on this bill, but we did help to improve it and ensure that campuses have to do much better long-range planning for housing if they are to receive these incentives.
AB 2344 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
Building upon PCL’s work on the Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing that broke ground this year (link). This bill greatly expands wildlife passage requirements and programs for the CA highway system.
AB 30 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
This bill establishes access to nature as a human right, and mandates state agencies to consider this right in decision-making and policy adoption, with particular regard to the needs of disadvantaged communities.
AB 1713 (Failed)
Would allow stop signs to be yield signs for bikes.
AB 2147 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
Decriminalizes jaywalking. This bill, and the above bike-stop bill, were both vetoed by the Governor last year.
AB 1919 (Support) – Vetoed
Would have established a free-youth-transit pass program, a win-win for both students and transit, and we have no idea why the Governor has vetoed it.
SB 222 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
A “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act” bill, establishing a robust and equitable Water Rate Assistance Program.
SB 1157 (Support) – Awaiting Governor’s signature
Updates indoor water use efficiency standards.
AB 1154 (Oppose Unless Amended) – Failed
A CEQA exemption for emergency egress routes in high fire risk areas. PCL was working very hard with the sponsors on how to do this right before it failed. There was still a long way to go, but California, does need to figure out a way to provide safe egress to our communities at risk, without compromising the environment and climate, and without inadvertently paving a path for more people to be in harm’s way.
SB 396 (Opposed) – Failed
Very problematic maintenance and forestry management provisions for electrical lines.
AB 2705 (Opposed) – Failed
The problematic CEQA exemption was cut from the original bill, but the final bill would have still sent a statutory green light for building in high-risk fire areas under current building standards, which simply aren’t strong enough—there is much more thinking to be done on how we plan appropriately for these communities.