Sonen participated in Advocacy Day, organized by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Led by NRDC’s California Legislative Director, Victoria Rome, the group traveled to the state capital to meet with California State Assembly members and California State senators to express support for critical upcoming energy, water, climate and chemical safety bills, detailed as follows.
Of note, the group met with San Francisco State Senator, David Weiner, and San Francisco Assembly Member, David Chiu. The meeting provided a unique opportunity to provide state legislators with input from California residents on the importance of environmental policy in terms of leading the nation, as well as for driving opportunities for innovation and investment in a low-carbon economy.
Summary of Issues
Water & Drought Preparedness
AB 1667/1668/1669 (Friedman) – Making Water Conservation a Way of Life – Assembly Member Laura Friedman’s package of water conservation bills (AB 1667, AB 1668, and AB 1669) aim to implement Governor Brown’s Executive Order, and subsequent recommendations from his agencies, to make “Water Conservation a California Way of Life”. Water conservation and efficiency improvements are always the least expensive, fastest, and most environmentally sound way to meet our water needs. The new normal in California will be intense periods of drought followed by extreme precipitation, due to our changing climate. These bills would require new urban water standards to ensure we are always using water efficiently in our cities and improve how we plan for periods of water shortage.
AB 378 (C. Garcia/Holden/E. Garcia) – Post-2020 Climate Policy). AB 378 authorizes the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB) to extend a market-based mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020 as a complement to the suite of direct measures and performance-based standards that anchor California’s climate plan. NRDC supports AB 378’s direction to ARB to ensure that all of California’s climate policies promote air quality and public health goals and to account for the full costs associated with emitting greenhouse gases in developing the most effective and equitable mix of climate solutions.
SB 709 (Wiener) – Contingency Plans for Nonfloating Oil This bill would require an owner or operator of a vessel carrying nonfloating oils, such as tar sands, to have an approved oil spill contingency plan that describes techniques and technologies that are effective for responding to a spill of those types of oils. The bill also requires an independent scientific study into the environmental impacts of tar sands oil spills and an evaluation of appropriate response strategies. Some tar sands oil is currently coming into California refineries by tanker and rail. But a proposal is pending in Canada to expand the TransMountain tar sands pipeline to British Columbia’s west coast. If this pipeline expansion is approved, there could be up to 590,000 barrels of oil per day of tar sands tanker traffic along the Pacific west coast, with the bulk of those shipments destined for refineries in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. SB 709 will align contingency planning for conventional oil spills and nonfloating oils, such as tar sands. In so doing, the bill helps ensure that California’s coastal communities, marine resources, and waterways are protected from potentially devastating tar sands spills.
Chemical Products Safety
SB 258 (Lara) – Cleaning Products Right to Know. This bill would require that cleaning products manufactured or sold in the state disclose on the product label and the manufacturer’s website, a list of each ingredient and contaminant of concern in the product. NRDC, along with a coalition of health, immigrant rights, labor, and business advocates believe this bill is a critical first step to protecting people’s health by disclosing the ingredients in cleaning products. Disclosure of potentially harmful ingredients is crucial not just for consumers and the environment, but also for janitorial and cleaning workers who have frequent and prolonged exposure to these chemicals. Californians have a right to know what chemicals are in the cleaning products they buy.
Sonen was able to mention involvement in the Chemical Footprint Project, and that this type of legislation would encourage innovation and meaningful progress on environmental health disclosures within company supply chains that we advocate for as investors.