New CA Governor Newsom Inaugurated With Wind at His Back
The Natural Resources Defense Council welcomes newly inaugurated and pro-environment chief executive, California Governor Gavin Newsom, who wasted no time appointing environmental leaders to key cabinet positions and laying the groundwork for continued progress in his first few days on the job.
He has the mandate, and the expectations that go along with it, to get it done.
Elected by the largest margin of any first-time governor in almost 90 years, Governor Newsom takes office along with a legislature that boasts pro-environment supermajorities in both chambers, led by pro-climate champions Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins. He joins a host of climate-action friendly governors in the West—Kate Brown in Oregon, Jay Inslee in Washington, Steve Sisolak in Nevada, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, and Jared Polis in Colorado), most of whom enjoy supermajorities in their own state legislatures. Together, there is opportunity to use their combined clout to tackle regional challenges in a way that has eluded past leaders. This was quickly realized when a contingent sent a joint letter to President Trump requesting assistance for managing federal forestlands damaged or threatened by wildfires.
Governor Newsom also signaled California’s march toward reaching its climate goals would not be stalled by naming top environmental cabinet members Jared Blumenfeld, a longtime environmental policy expert and leader, as the new Secretary of CalEPA, the state cabinet-level agency tasked with protecting and promoting environmental quality and protections and Wade Crowfoot as the new Secretary of Natural Resources.
The California legislature is also off to a strong start. State Senate leader Atkins has introduced SB 1, already taking steps to strengthen and set existing federal and state protections as a baseline, even as the Trump administration works overtime to weaken them at the federal level.
And there is lots more to do. We will work with Governor Newsom and state legislators to support strong policies that will:
- Help realize California’s 100 percent clean energy goal
- Protect Californians’ health and environment from the increased production and transport of heavy oils, such as tar sands
- Reduce climate pollution from transportation (the top source of climate emissions in the United States), improve transportation and land-use planning, and build more affordable, transit-adjacent housing
- Protect Californians from toxic chemicals by eliminating the use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide linked to learning disabilities, ADHD, and permanent brain damage in children
- Ensure the safety of consumer products sold in California
- Strengthen water efficiency, improve drought resilience, and ensure that all Californians have access to safe drinking water
- Dedicate resources to preventing and fighting future wildfires across the state
- Protect the California desert from destructive groundwater extraction projects
The Natural Resources Defense Council is ready to roll up our sleeves and work with the new governor and legislative leaders to make sure we meet California’s climate goals, protect California from President Trump’s anti-environmental rollbacks, preserve California’s wildlife, natural resources, and quality of life, and continue to stimulate progress on climate action and clean energy.