California Legislature Enters Hectic Final Days of 2021-22 Session
Last night, state legislators amended 13 bills relating to the state budget. With the Legislature set for final adjournment on Wednesday, the move complies with a Constitutional requirement – adopted via a 2016 ballot proposition – that bills be in print for 72 hours before they may be acted upon.
The “Budget Bill Junior,” SB 179 and AB 179, amends the 2022-23 State Budget and has several beneficial provisions relating to wildfire resilience. The legislation would augment by $3 million the amount available as local assistance for wildfire prevention and forest resilience. The bill also provides $20 million to the Department of Conservation for regional forest and fire capacity.
The Budget Bill Junior has some major provisions relating to CCA’s priorities of utilizing grazing and prescribed fire as tools to mitigate fire fuels. Among $120 million allocated to Cal Fire for fire prevention and resource management, $80 million has been set aside for Fire Prevention Grants which can be utilized for various treatments including “prescribed wildland grazing” and “prescribed grazing infrastructure.” The bill also allocates $2 million to the California Air Resources Board for enhanced permitting for prescribed fire and provides $2 million to support University of California Fire Advisors, who play a significant role in getting good fire on the ground.
The Public Resources budget trailer bill, SB 128 and AB 211, would extend through January 1, 2028 an existing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemption for fuel reduction projects on federal lands which have already undergone National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. This provision would go beyond CCA-supported AB 267 (Valladares), currently pending on the Senate floor, which would extend the exemption through 2026. The trailer bill would also expand the exemption to projects undertaken only partially on federal land and would eliminate certain certification and reporting requirements related to the exemption.
The public resources trailer bill also allocates more than $787 million to various state agencies for public resource management. Most significant among those allocations is the funding for drought resilience, which includes nearly $49 million to the Department of Water Resources to support immediate drought response and agriculture; $56 million for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act; $122 million for projects that support aquatic habitat and drought resilience; and funding to various water agencies to improve drought resilience and water conveyance (among several other drought resilience efforts).
The trailer bill also earmarks $30 million for Cal Fire “for projects that support wildfire and forest resilience.”
Finally, the State Government budget trailer bill, SB 138 and AB 157, establishes the California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Program, which will disburse $75 million in small business relief grants approved in the Budget Act this Jun and, targeted at “businesses located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley and then to additional areas experiencing drought impacts.”
Most other CCA-priority legislation has already passed out of the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s final action, including CCA-sponsored SB 880 (Laird) regarding water measurement short courses and AB 2415 (Lackey) extending an agricultural vehicle exemption from the Basic Inspection of Terminals Program. Stay tuned to Legislative Bulletin over the next month for further updates on this session’s legislation.
CARB Imposes Zero-Emission Mandate for New Cars Sold Beginning in 2035
On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted an Advanced Clean Cars II regulation which requires all new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the state beginning in 2035 to be equipped with a zero-emission engine. The regulation also includes interim requirements for automakers’ sales of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), requiring that 35% of autos sold by 2026 be ZEVs and that 68% of vehicles sold by 2030 produce no emissions. For reference, 16% of vehicles sold in the state so far this year have been ZEVs.
The regulation implements Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20, issued September 23, 2020.
The regulation will not impact vehicle owners of gas-powered vehicles purchased prior to 2035.
Additionally, while the regulation applies to light-duty trucks – defined by CARB as those with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or less – the zero-emission mandate does not apply to medium-duty trucks (defined by CARB as those with a GVWR of 8,501-14,000 pounds), though the regulation does propose “low-emission vehicle” targets for medium-duty trucks.
Heavy-duty trucks – those with a GVWR of 14,001 or more pounds – are likewise not mandated to be zero-emission by 2035; CARB separately regulates heavy-duty vehicles.
While medium- and heavy-duty trucks are not mandated to be zero-emission by 2035, Governor Newsom’s Executive Order did provide a roadmap to eventually impose zero-emissions mandates on such vehicles, stating that it is the “goal of the State that 100 percent of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the State be zero-emission by 2045…where feasible.”
SWRCB Issues Updates on Water Rights Curtailments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed
As of Wednesday, there have been some updates to curtailments within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed.
Appropriative water rights in the Sacramento River watershed have been curtailed outside the Legal Delta with a priority date of 1904 or later. In addition to Sacramento River tributary curtailments previously detailed in Legislative Bulletin, appropriative water rights in the Cache Creek subwatershed have been further curtailed to a priority date of 1861.
Curtailments in the San Joaquin River watershed and its tributaries remain unchanged from those announced in last week’s Legislative Bulletin.
These curtailments are expected to continue through summer and the beginning of fall, depending on precipitation.
For questions about curtailment and suspension notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or email@example.com.
New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country
Stories from California Cattle Country, “Talbot Cattle Company in Bishop, Calif. with Tom Talbot” is out now. To listen to the episode click here. Stories from California Cattle Country is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council. If you want a glimpse into our travels, follow the podcast’s Instagram account @calcattlecountry.
Gov. Newsom Releases End-of-Session Climate Priorities
Last week, Legislative Bulletin reported on a set of five “urgent proposals addressing climate change” released by Governor Gavin Newsom on August 12 which he urged the Legislature to take up this session. While CCA noted last week that “no legislator has agreed to carry Newsom’s bills,” a lot can change in a week, and most of Newsom’s proposals have found legislative vehicles over that time.
Newsom’s proposal to codify the State’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 has been incorporated into AB 1279 (Maratsuchi). AB 2133 (Quirk) would increase California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 55% below the 1990 level by 2030 (current law pegs the 2030 target to 40% below 1990 levels). SB 1137 (Gonzalez) would require new oil wells to be cited at least 3,200 feet from schools, residences and parks. Finally, SB 905 (Caballero) would direct the California Air Resources Board to promulgate regulations relating to carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.
CCA is monitoring these bills in the final three days of the legislative session and will continue to keep members informed of their progress.
2022 CCA Internship Applications Now Available
Internship applications are open for the 2022 CCA/CCW Convention happening Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev. Selected interns will help run CCA’s tradeshow booth, onsite registration and other behind the scenes tasks at the event, they will also get to attend select meetings of interest, general sessions and the tradeshow with complimentary lodging and registration. Additionally, the interns will get to interact with CCA leadership and staff, as well as industry leaders at the best attended meeting of the year. To apply please send a resume and cover letter to Maureen LaGrande at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, October 10, 2022, at 11:59pm PST. Applicant must be a young, regular or feeder member of the California Cattlemen’s Association and must be a current undergraduate, master, school of law or veterinary student attending or enrolled in a junior college, four-year college, university or law school (high school students are not eligible). Learn more about the event at calcattlemen.org/convention2022.
2022 CCA Scholarship Applications Now Available
Applications for the 2022 CCA Scholarships are being accepted now through October 1, 2022. CCA awarded $63,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year. Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of her CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarships. Contact Maureen in the CCA office at email@example.com with any questions.