The Legislative session ends with big wins for the climate!

Here, some quick summaries, with links, of climate game-changing measures. Nearly all of these passed both the Assembly and the state Senate and have been signed by Governor Newsom.  References to the Governor’s “pillars” are to his mid-August memo to the Legislature and executive agencies, which undoubtedly made it easier to pass these bills.

Our highest priority game changers passed and have been signed by the Governor!

  • SB 1137 (Senators Gonzalez and Limón), Oil and gas: operations: location restrictions: notice of intention: health protection zone: sensitive receptors. The 3200-ft “setbacks bill” we’ve been working for, for yearsEstablishes a 3200-ft radius “health protection zone” around homes, schools, medical facilities, etc. Within that zone, new oil/gas wells or operations are not allowed, and existing ones must be proven to be secure when they are modified or maintained. See the fact sheet here. The bill implements the Governor’s fourth pillar…and it’s a stunning victory after years of advocacy and hard work on the part of environmental justice groups and many, many others.
  • SB 1314 (Limón), Oil and gas: Class II injection wells: enhanced oil recovery. No use of captured carbon for” enhanced oil recovery” (EOR), the practice of injecting CO2 into depleted wells to squeeze out more oil.  (Opposed by the West Coast Petroleum Association, Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, building trades unions, etc.) Answers the Governor’s fifth pillar, calling for a regulatory framework for carbon capture.
  • AB 1279 (Muratsuchi and C. Garcia), The California Climate Crisis Act. Codifies the state’s carbon neutrality goal for 2045, requiring at least 85% direct GHG reductions, i.e., no more than 15% of it can be achieved through carbon removals. Requires CARB to re-work its proposed 2045 strategy in the scoping plan to  identify 35-40 million MORE tons of emissions reductions, rather than assuming roughly a quarter of GHGs will be “canceled out” by carbon removals. Joined to, and contingent on passage of SB 905 (Caballero and Skinner), Carbon sequestration: Carbon Capture, Removal, Utilization, and Storage Program. which prohibits use of captured carbon for EOR. Answers the Governor’s accelerated emissions reduction targets, in his first pillar.

California’s clean energy future

  • SB 1020 (Laird), Clean Energy, Jobs, and Affordability Act of 2022. Amended to incorporate the Governor’s accelerated clean energy targets, in his third pillar. Moves the Public Utilities Commission toward distributed energy resources (DER) and resilience. Supports environmental justice.
  • SB 887 (Becker and Stern), Electricity: Transmission facility planning. Requires planning for electrical transmission into underserved or hard to reach areas, focusing on renewable energy sources. An environmental justice bill.
  • SB 1203 (Becker), Net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases: state agency operations. State operations must be “net zero” by 2035 (and a plan is due by 2025).
  • SB 379 (Wiener), Residential Solar Energy Systems; permitting. Requires simplified, expedited local permitting for rooftop solar.
  • SB 1158 (Becker), Retail electricity suppliers; emissions of greenhouse gases. Requires the CPUC to calculate and publish annual data on utilities’ percentage of resource adequacy requirements met with renewable energy, stored power, etc. 

Protecting our state’s natural lands, and the climate

  • AB 1757 (C. Garcia and R. Rivas), California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: climate goal: natural and working lands. Sets ambitious targets for “natural” sequestration of carbon in natural and working lands. Requires CARB to track emissions reductions and other benefits. Covers the Governor’s carbon sequestration pillar no. 5, which also stipulates  banning use of captured carbon for “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR) from depleted wells.
  • AB 30 (Kalra), Equitable Outdoor Access Act. Equitable access to nature for all Californians. An environmental justice bill that also supports natural carbon sequestration.

Electrifying transportation

  • AB 1738 (Boerner Horvath), Building standards: installation of electric vehicle charging stations: existing buildings. Requires agencies to develop building standards for installation of EV chargers in existing multi-family and non-residential construction, when permits are issued.
  • SB 1482 (Allen), Building standards; electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Requires inclusion of EV charger requirements in building standards for multi-family residential buildings.
  • AB 2700 (McCarty, Berman, and Medina), Transportation electrification; electrical distribution grid upgrades. Requires CEC, CARB, CPUC etc. to gather annual data on on- and off-road medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleets, and share with utilities to inform planning for EV charging.

Cleaning up oil/gas/air quality problems

  • SB 1295 (Limón), Oil and gas: hazardous or deserted wells and facilities: labor standards: expenditure limits: reportsIncreases available funding for remediation of hazardous and deserted wells; land sets labor standards. An important environmental justice measure.
  • AB 1857 (C. Garcia), Solid waste. Removes trash incineration from the definition of waste diversion, which is required by law for all municipalities. Institutes a grant program to support communities transitioning to zero waste. Trash incineration is extremely carbon-intensive, and this is an environmental justice bill.
  • SB 1206 (Skinner), Hydrofluorocarbon gases: sale or distributionBegins to ratchet down the allowable global warming potential  (GWP) of refrigerants (HFCs) sold in bulk, beginning in 2025. Requires CARB to initiate a rulemaking requiring low or ultra-low GWP alternatives to HFCs. Refrigerants are short-lived climate pollutants, which are many times more potent contributors to global heating than CO2.
  • AB 2550 (Arambula), State Air Resources Board: San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: nonattainment. Requires CARB to develop a regulatory program to improve air quality in the Central Valley.

And some real disappointments

  • SB 260 (Wiener + Stern), Climate Corporate Accountability Act. Requires emissions reporting (Scopes 1, 2, and 3) by companies with revenues of $1 billion or more. Opposed by WSPA, Chambers of Commerce, industry groups). Passed the Senate, failed by four votes in the Assembly.
  • AB 2133 (Quirk), California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: emissions limit. Would have raised  the 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions from 40 percent to 55 percent, per the Governor’s second pillar. Passed the Senate, failed by four votes in the Assembly.
  • SB 1391 (Kamlager), Greenhouse gases: market-based compliance mechanism. Would have required review every three years of Cap and Trade, including evaluating and addressing concerns of allowance overallocation and offset credits eligibility. Passed the Senate; failed by seven votes in the Assembly.