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Politics and Issues

Governor’s performance on the environment mixed

by Bill Allayaud, State Director, Sierra Club California

By the end of August, the Legislature had put a number of environmental bills on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk for signature. While there were no blockbuster pieces of legislation this year, there were some significant measures that we wanted him to sign. The result? A mixed record. Overall, his first year appears to be better than any recent Republican governor, but not as good as Gray Davis's first years.

Here is a summary of key bills that reached the governor's desk.

Supported by Club;
signed by governor:

AB 923 (Firebaugh) This raises significant new money for the Carl Moyer program, helping to reduce emissions of dirty diesel engines.

AB 2683 (Lieber) Will repeal the 30-year rolling exemption that applies to the Smog Check and Smog Check II programs; therefore, cars built after 1974 will never be exempt from smog regulations.

SB 1369 (Kuehl - Sierra Club CA sponsor) Increases the requirement for defensible space from 30' to 100' in the most fire-prone areas of the state.

SB 391 (Florez) Requires the perpetrators of pesticide drift poisonings to compensate the victims.

AB 1369 (Pavley - Sierra Club CA sponsor) Bans sale of mercury-added thermostats for residential and commercial use after Jan. 1, 2006.

AB 2901 (Pavley) Requires the sellers of cell phones to take them back from consumers for recycling.

AB 2093 (Nakano), AB 2672 (Simitian), and AB 471 (Simitian) These bills tighten up regulations for cruise ships entering state water for air and water emissions.

AB 2572 (Kehoe - Sierra Club CA sponsor) Requires water meters to be installed in Central Valley cities not covered by last year's bill, including the City of Sacramento.

SB 1459 (Alpert) Restricts bottom trawling in State waters.

AB 2600 (Laird and Leslie) Creates the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

Supported by Club;
vetoed by governor:

AB 2042 (Lowenthal) Prohibits air pollution at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles from exceeding baseline levels.

SB 1478 (Sher) Makes numerous changes to the California Renewable Portfolio Standards Program and the Renewable Energy Program.

SB 1648 (Chesbro - Sierra Club CA Sponsor) Reforms the management of Jackson Demonstration State Forest in Mendocino County.

AB 338 (Levine) Requires CalTrans to use increasing levels of rubberized asphalt concrete made from recycled tires.

AB 2055 (Wolk) Would strengthen the open space element in general plans, including emphasis on agriculture, urban parks, and habitat issues.

AB 2476 (Wolk) Would have the Delta Protection Commission look at land use impacts on key resource areas.

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section title


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November 2011 candidate endorsement
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Governor’s performance on the environment mixed