Salmon fishermen joined environmentalists and other public trust advocates in praising the introduction of SB 49, the California Environmental Defense Act, in the California State Senate on February 23.
The Senate leadership unveiled SB 49 as part of the Preserve California legislative package “to insulate the state from dangerous rollbacks in federal environmental regulations and public health protections” proposed by the Donald Trump administration and Congress.
SB 49, authored by Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills, does the following:
• Makes current federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state law, even if the federal government rolls back and weakens those standards.
• Directs state environmental, public health, and worker safety agencies to take all actions within their authorities to ensure standards in effect and being enforced today continue to remain in effect.
• Federal laws in these areas set “baselines,” but allow states to adopt more stringent standards. This bill simply ensures CA does not backslide as a result of rollbacks and damage done by the new regime in Washington DC.
• In 2003, when the Bush Administration attempted to enact similar rollbacks of federal clean air standards, the Legislature passed SB 288 (Chapter 476 statutes of 2003), the Protect CA Air Act. This measure builds on that platform.
“Salmon fishermen and women are breathing a little easier with the introduction of SB 49, the California Environmental Defense Act,” said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA). “This bill will protect California salmon fishing jobs.”
”Mr. Trump last year declared there was no drought and promised to eliminate salmon protections,” he explained. “The former chief lobbyist for the western San Joaquin Valley Westlands Water District is the leading candidate to take over the number two spot in the Trump Administration’s Dept. of Interior. He’s certain to push a bill in the House demanding diversion of even more northern California water needed by salmon to agribusiness in the arid western San Joaquin Valley.”
“The California Environmental Defense Act protects the salmon industry and is just in time to stop the loss of anymore salmon fishing jobs. It will also go a long way towards protecting the Bay Delta, the largest estuary on the west coast,” McManus said.
The Preserve California legislative package also includes SB 50, the Public Lands Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), and SB 51, the Whistleblower and Public Data Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).
“The bill package establishes strong and legally enforceable baseline protections for the environment, public health, worker safety, and other areas of federal regulatory law that could be dramatically and recklessly weakened by the Trump Administration,” according to a news release from Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León. “Measures would also protect federal lands within the State of California from sale to private developers for the purpose of resource extraction; ensure federal employees are not penalized under California law for whistleblowing; and shield public information and data resources from federal censorship or destruction.”
“The Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress are racing to weaken decades-old environmental and public health protections,” California Senate Leader Kevin de León said. “SB 49 makes existing federal laws – like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts – enforceable under California law, so we can preserve the state we know and love, regardless of what happens in Washington.”
“This is pretty straightforward – just common sense measures to preserve minimum safeguards for clean air and water,” Senator Henry Stern said. “We still have a ways to go to clean up our environment, but at the very least we should not be backsliding.”
For more on SB 49 see http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB49
For more information on the Preserve California legislative package, go to: sd24.senate.ca.gov/…