California Needs Senate Bill 1

SB 1 media event in San Diego

California’s Senate passed Senate Bill 1, the anti-Trump rollbacks bill, today. This move brings the state one step closer to leading the pack of enlightened state leaders around the country who are safeguarding their states against relentless attacks on the environment and public health from Washington, D.C. Thanks to Senate pro tem Atkins, and Senators Stern, Portantino, and Hueso, for authoring and ushering this important bill to protect California’s residents, workers, and environment from baseless federal rollbacks of clean air, clean water, endangered species, and worker safety standards. 

Senate Bill 1 directs state agencies to regularly monitor the rollbacks coming out of Washington, D.C., and to quickly take any necessary action to ensure that state standards remain at least as protective as those that existed before the Trump Administration took office. A brief skim of daily headlines vividly demonstrates the need for this action:

  • "Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science," states the New York Times on May 27, 2019;
  • “E.P.A. Plans to Get Thousands of Pollution Deaths Off the Books by Changing Its Math,” trumpets the New York Times on May 20, 2019;
  • “Trump Administration Heeds Oil and Gas Industry Calls to Remove Protections for Beetle,” explains the Washington Post on May 6, 2019;
  • “EPA won't regulate pollution that moves through groundwater,” reports Greenwire on April 16, 2019;
  • “Trump Administration Shortcuts Science To Give California Farmers More Water,” states NPR on March 11, 2019;
  • “The Dismantling of a U.S. Workplace Safety Rule, and the Political Battle Behind It,” says Reuters on January 22, 2019;
  • “EPA floats redefinition of 'ambient air',” asserts Energy & Environment News on November 9, 2018;
  • “Ryan Zinke, Trump’s Interior secretary, fires another shot at California,” explains the Los Angeles Times on August 20, 2018.

The list could go on, but the themes are undeniable: The Trump Administration will gut and manipulate science, ignore facts, defy logic, and attempt to redefine such basic concepts as “ambient air” in order to weaken protections for people and the environment and benefit their corporate cronies.

While California State Attorney General Becerra, NRDC, and a whole host of our colleagues are fighting these Trump rollbacks in court, those fights often take time and provide uncertain outcomes. In the meantime, people may suffer the impacts of increased air pollution or contaminated drinking water, and species that are already perched on the edge of extinction may not survive. Senate Bill 1 gives the state the ability to quickly put in place measures to counteract these baseless rollbacks and protect all that makes California great: its people and environment.

We’re grateful to the Senate for taking this needed action and look forward to swift action from the Assembly to pass this important bill.