California Legislature Sends a Bumper Crop of Environmental Legislation to Governor Brown for Signature

As Legislative Session Closes, Groups Applaud Passage of Groundbreaking Policies to Protect Public Health and Environment, and Bills Addressing the Drought

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (August 30, 2014) – Californians can breathe easier today knowing that the state legislature passed groundbreaking policies to protect public health and clean up our environment.

As the 2013-14 California Legislative session drew to a close early this morning, environmental and health groups – including the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Greenlining Institute, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, California League of Conservation Voters, Californians Against Waste, Sierra Club California, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Coalition for Clean Air, Surfrider Foundation, Clean Water Action, Community Water Center, Blue Green Alliance, and Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment – celebrated big wins for clean air, clean transportation, coastal protection, chemical disclosure, healthy communities and clean water.

Environmental advocates and legislative champions worked together to deliver a host of new bills to the Governor’s desk to:

  • Place a much needed  water bond on the November ballot Proposition 1
  • Protect precious groundwater supplies AB 1739 (Dickinson) and SB 1168 (Pavley)
  • Put 1 million electric cars, trucks and buses on California roads within the next 10 years SB 1275 (De Leon) and SB 1204 (Lara)
  • Phase out single-use plastic grocery bags SB 270 (Padilla, De Leon and Padilla)
  • Allow consumers to purchase furniture free of toxic flame retardant chemicals SB 1019 (Leno)
  • Reduce methane leaks from pipelines SB 1371 (Leno)
  • Work to protect  public access to California’s coast SB 968 (Hill)
  • Strengthen oversight of the state’s management of hazardous waste  SB 812 (De Leon)
  • Invest revenues from the state’s cap and trade program in clean transportation and healthy communities SB862 (Committee on Budget)

Big Oil and Big Chemical once again used their deep pockets and deceptive, cynical tactics to try to stop environmental bills. They  created front groups and raised phony issues to confuse legislators and scare the public. Fortunately, the California Legislature showed true leadership by pushing back on industry and putting California’s children and communities first.  

In the coming weeks, Californians should let Governor Brown know loud and clear that they support environmental and public health protection and ask him to sign these and other key bills into law. Next year will see a renewed effort to reduce the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance, ensure protections from dirty energy development (fracking/crude by rail), and advance California’s climate leadership


“The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management legislation takes an historic first step towards ensuring that our groundwater will remain a resource for future Californians.” – Jennifer Clary, Clean Water Action

Electric Vehicles:

“We need to clean our air – especially in communities most impacted by pollution. And we can only do that if we clean up our transportation system and end reliance on fossil fuels. The future of clean transportation in California has been established this legislative session while creating better access to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. This innovative approach – in combination with the prospects of building a green transportation infrastructure in California that will spur economic growth – is a win-win strategy and one of the chief achievements of this legislative session.” – Bahram Fazeli, Policy Director, Communities for a Better Environment 

“SB 1275 will help put a million electric cars and trucks on the road and make these clean vehicles affordable for working families. SB 1275 will not only clean the air, it will use our tax dollars wisely by making sure that rebates go where they’ll do the most good.” – Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director, the Greenlining Institute

Water bond:
“California’s drought brought a diverse set of interests together in support of a new bond that protects our environment and our economy, instead of one that creates a false choice between the two. This new water bond proposal invests billions of dollars in cost-effective, 21st-century water solutions that will restore ecosystems, stabilize our ailing freshwater systems, cleanup and manage our groundwater basins, and improve reliability of water throughout California.” – Ann Notthoff, California Director, Natural Resources Defense Council

Plastic bags:
“The State Legislature spent a great deal of time debating the merits of this issue over the last several months, and especially this week. In the end, it was the reports of overwhelming success of this policy at the local level that overcame the political attacks and misinformation from out-of-state plastic bag makers.” – Mark Murray, Executive Director, Californians Against Waste

Chemical Disclosure:
“The state found that flame retardant chemicals were not needed in furniture to ensure fire safety. SB 1019 allows consumers to choose furniture that is free of toxic chemicals, leading to healthier homes and fewer dangerous chemicals in our bodies.” – Victoria Rome, California Legislative Director, Natural Resources Defense Council

Methane Pollution:
“SB 1371 is a huge step towards the build-out of a comprehensive strategy in California to reduce methane pollution, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Implementing policies to curb the loss of a valuable resource is good for both California’s environment and our economy.” –  Tim O’Connor, Director, California Climate Initiative, Environmental Defense Fund

Coastal Protection:
“We applaud the California Legislature for moving forward important coastal legislation that will curb plastic pollution in our waterways and beaches, and ensure that California beaches remain open to the public. The passage of SB 968 demonstrates that Californians treasure their coastal access. There is still much work to be done to ensure that California’s 1,100 miles of coastline remain clean, accessible and undeveloped, but this legislative session is a tremendous step in the right direction.” – Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, California Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation 

Hazardous Waste:
“By passing SB 812, the Legislature recognized the systemic problems with the State’s management of hazardous waste. California’s most vulnerable communities deserve a future free from toxic exposures and SB 812 paves the way.”  – Ingrid Brostrom, Senior Attorney, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment 

“One of this year’s greenest bills is the annual budget, which for the first time will recycle charges on big polluters – through the state’s AB 32 program – into $832 million of investments in sustainable transportation, clean energy, natural resources restoration and waste diversion programs. Over $250 million of that total will be targeted to deliver services, jobs and improved health to California’s most underserved communities, those who are most at risk from global warming and the most afflicted by pollution and poverty.” – Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air

Overall Legislative Session:
“This year our elected officials worked hard to protect our air, water and beautiful places. They deserve a round of applause for a job well done, but with the impacts of global warming upon us, the time is now for more action. We need to stop fracking and move toward clean energy like wind, solar and geothermal. There is still a lot of work to do.” – Dan Jacobson, Legislative Director, Environment California 

“We had some disappointments in the first half of the session, but this second half has been a breath of fresh air. We have ended this year with a lot of solid legislation that will help make sure all Californians have clean water, clean air and natural areas to enjoy.” – Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California

“From beating back a deceptive oil industry-funded challenge to our state’s landmark climate and clean air, to passing the first comprehensive groundwater regulations in a century, this was a remarkable year for policies protecting our environment and our public health.” – Sarah Rose, CEO, California League of Conservation Voters

“Even as large corporations flexed their financial and political muscle in the Capitol killing some important legislation, Senate and Assembly authors of key measures kept plugging away, making adjustments to their bills and finding the votes needed to keep moving forward to protect the health of Californians and their environment.” – Bill Allayaud, California Director of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group



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