climate legislation & policy

what we do

350SV volunteers weigh in on important climate issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Join one or more of our teams by checking the boxes on our volunteer sign-up form. Many leg/policy volunteers also join City Teams, so that they can work on local issues with local decision makers.

state legislation

Our legislative team collaborates and coordinates with environmental groups around California to support strong climate legislation for our state. Much of our work, and our selection of bills and initiatives to support or oppose, has been guided by Energy Innovation’s analysis of California’s climate policy and prospects for meeting ambitious carbon reduction goals. For more information, see the Resources section below. 

In light of the virus-induced shutdown and its economic consequences, state government in Sacramento has had to make drastic adjustments to both budgets and legislative initiatives. Members of both houses of the legislature have drastically reduced the number of bills they are carrying, and each policy committee is meeting only once before reporting bills to Appropriations. We will continue to advocate for our surviving priority bills, and urge bill authors to bring back others in 2021. 

california climate bills: End of Session summary

The 2019-2020 legislative session in Sacramento limped to an ignominious conclusion last week—as least as far as climate action buffs are concerned. Way back in February (who remembers February?) a large number of new bills and a cache of two-year bills held over from 2019 looked like they would occupy a vast amount of analysis and organizing time, if we could only sort through the long list. Then COVID hit, the legislature was sent home, and the state budget went from a comfortable surplus to $54 billion in the hole.

So, we’ll be back next year. The budget will still be horrible and the pandemic may still be scrambling the legislative calendar, but we’ll be urging our representatives to bring back at least some of the issues that met bad ends this year. 

What Passed

  • AB 3214 lost some of its bonding provisions along the way, but it doubles current penalties  for companies and individuals who knowingly engage in or cause the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, or knowingly fail to begin cleanup, abatement, or removal of spilled oil. It makes it a felony to fail to notify the Office of Emergency Services regarding an oil spill or to knowingly fail to follow the material provisions of an applicable oil spill contingency plan. 

  • AB 841  requires the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to come to final decisions by March 2021 over new zero-emission vehicle infrastructure details, including EV chargers for electric cars. The bill also deals with HVAC systems in schools, providing funding from the School Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program to enable schools to install more energy efficient and better ventilated HVAC systems.

What Didn't Pass

  • The plastics bills, AB 1080 and its companion SB 54, would have required a 75 percent reduction in single-use plastic packaging, utensils, straws, containers and other foodware by 2032. Had these bills passed California would be leading the nation down a path to achieving complete recyclability/ or compostability. For more information, click here: https://calmatters.org/environment/2020/09/california-legislature-plastics/

  • AB 345 would have required a 2500 ft. buffer between oil/gas operations and homes, schools, and playgrounds. This is significant not only from the climate change perspective but also for its effect on public health: Drilling for oil has many public health impacts, including low birth weight and small gestational age, as well as preterm births. For more information: https://sirota.substack.com/p/california-dems-give-up-on-new-oil

  • AB 2473, sponsored by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), was pulled by the author hours after the CalPERS Chief Investment Officer abruptly resigned (or was pushed). This bill would exempt CalPERS from disclosing the owners of private companies receiving loans from CalPERS as well as other information; it would formalize in statute the giant fund’s penchant for non-transparency. CalPERS says they’ll bring it back next year. We hope some housecleaning has happened by then, and this idea goes in the dustbin.

Some of our activities to date:

  • Tracking legislation and climate policy development in Washington, D.C.

  • Holding phone meetings with our Congressional representatives

  • Supporting bills and provisions in bills that will guide the country toward a humane, inclusive low-carbon future

  • Advocating for mail-in voting and participating in non-partisan get-out-the-vote efforts

federal issues and legislation

We started 350SV’s federal legislation team when the magnitude of the COVID relief bills passed by Congress made clear that the federal response to the pandemic, and specifically to families’ and small businesses’ unprecedented need for support will require a whole-budget rethink when we reach the end of the crisis. At the same time, many of our national partners began lobbying in Washington for “No Fossil Fuel Bailout” in the massive relief bills. This growing team includes members of 350 groups outside of Silicon Valley.

 

federal legislation we're following

While it’s true that many of these bills are unlikely to be acted on in the Senate this year, we want our representatives to know that we’re watching and supporting these initiatives, and that we expect action at the beginning of the 2021-22 session of Congress!

Resources

 

For more information, contact:

Janet Cox, Legislative Team Lead

 

For more information, contact leg-policy@350siliconvalley.org

 
Contact Us

Mailing Address:

4546 El Camino Real B10 #200

Los Altos, CA 94022

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Have a question? Email us here.

350 Silicon Valley is a Registered non-profit

© 2020 by 350 Silicon Valley

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