Keep up to date on California Legislation350 Sonoma, following the lead of the Legislative Committee of 350 Bay Area, tracks key environmental bills in the California Legislature.
Climate Legislation Watch Group
350 Sonoma has launched a new action group to monitor and respond to state legislation related to climate issues. 350 Bay Area’s Legislative Committee, working with other state-wide environmental groups, monitors legislation and helps coordinate actions among local groups on particular bills. 350 Sonoma is in the process of building relationships with our state legislators so that we can more effectively influence their votes.
A group of us met in the Napa office of California Assemblymember on July 31st to urge the Assemblymember to support SB 100 – the bill that would mandate 100% clean electricity for California by 2045. Two representatives of the American Lung Association of California gave powerful evidence of the harmful health effects of burning fossil fuels. We also urged Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry to support SB 100 for the health of the planet! Pictured (from left): Jenny Bard of the American Lung Association; Darcy Sweeney, 350 Sonoma; constituents Jessie Alberts and baby Nora; Christine Hoex, 350 Sonoma; Laura Neish, 350 Bay Area Exec. Dir.; Laura Beltran, staff person for Aguiar-Curry; and Kate Benscoter also of the American Lung Association. (Not pictured: Diane of Napa Climate Now.)
On July 3rd, SB 100 (Senator De Leon’s bill that will mandate 100% electricity from renewable sources by 2045) passed out of the California Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee. Yay! Four members of 350 Sonoma’s steering committee attended the hearing, joining more than 120 activists from across California to testify in favor of the bill. SB 100 should reach the Assembly floor sometime this summer. (It may have to go to the Appropriations Committee first.) We’ll all need to do our part to be sure it passes! (The Assembly will be its last hurdle — It passed the Senate last summer.)
AB 813 would regionalize California’s electricity grid, merging the existing independent management into a broader regional system. This is an extremely complicated issue. There are compelling reasons to consider regionalization, but the risks far outweigh the potential benefits at this time. Regionalization would increase the control that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has on California’s grid, and FERC is currently dreaming up ways to support extending uneconomical coal and nuclear generation. Also, the western region envisioned in the bill includes coal country – and there is the strong potential that this regionalized grid could extend the economic viability of some of the nation’s worst coal plants. California’s existing grid management system is not in dire circumstances! We have a functioning operator supported by existing out of state contracts that balance our energy needs. We are at a time of remarkable innovation in electricity generation and distribution – it is quite premature to lock in this approach in the face of rapidly changing circumstances, especially when California risks losing control over its electricity generation portfolio by doing so.
Call or email your State Senator McGuire’s office before Tuesday morning! There is a critical vote on this issue on June 19, and we need to reach Senator McGuire, a key vote on this issue. His phone number is (916) 651-4002, or email his legislative aide Christopher.Nielsen@sen.ca.gov
A contingent from 350 Sonoma helped swell the ranks of more than one hundred climate activists from across California on 100% Clean Energy Lobby Day in Sacramento last Wednesday, June 13. Divided into ten teams, we made quite a statement as we trekked through the Capitol’s halls in our “100%” caps. We talked with staff of nearly seventy Assembly Members (there are only eighty), asking them to support SB 100 – 100% of California’s electricity from renewables by 2045. The bill has now been scheduled for a hearing on July 3 in the Assembly’s Utilities and Energy Committee. That’s progress! Stay tuned…
A small team from 350 Sonoma and 350 Petaluma (our new subgroup representing the south county) will be meeting on May 15th with a member of Assemblymember Marc Levine’s staff. We’ll emphasize the critical importance of quickly achieving 100% clean energy in California. SB 100 is the current legislation mandating 100% clean energy, and it is currently stalled in the State Assembly after passing the State Senate. If SB 100 doesn’t make it out for a full vote this year, we will keep working to get it back into the legislative process. We will also ask for Levine’s vote on AB 3232, a bill that will promote the shift to all electric buildings. Other bills we will ask for AM Levine to join us in supporting: 2304 – atransit pass study, 1775 – to limit offshore drilling, and 2928 – promoting dense housing on BART properties. A million thanks to Kathy Dervine, Judy Pope and the 350 Bay Area Legislative Team for their leadership and guidance. 350 Sonoma will be setting up a meeting with Jim Wood as soon as the dust settles on this one.
100% clean energy is our top priority! SB 100 — which would mandate that 100% of California’s electricity be generated from renewables by 2045 — would be a big step in the right direction! It’s now in the California Assembly. Contact your assembly member (click on “Act Now”) and tell him/her to support SB 100!
Another ground-breaking bill now in the California legislature is SB 964, a bill that would require CalSTRS and CalPRS, the two biggest pension systems in the U.S., to take climate-related financial risk into account when making investment decisions. It’s past time for California’s big pension funds to divest from oil giants like Exxon Mobil. Show your support for SB 964 by signing the petition!
Other important bills that we’re supporting:
AB 1775 (its companion bill in the California Senate is SB 834) would help prevent oil drilling off California’s coasts by giving the State Lands Committee more power to block unloading and transport of oil from new offshore drilling operations.
SB 1072 would help under-resourced communities compete for state funds in order to fund local projects that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help transition away from fossil fuels. Another goal of the legislation is to help these communities increase jobs and economic development through investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable infrastructure.
AB 3232 would require the California State Energy Resources Commission to develop a plan that would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from residential and commercial buildings to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Stay tuned for more info and actions!