Environment California's 2013 Legislative Agenda

2013 Legislative Agenda:

Environment California’s mission

We all want clean air, clean water and open spaces. But it takes independent research and tough-minded advocacy to win concrete results for our environment, especially when powerful interests stand in the way of environmental progress. That’s the idea behind Environment California. We focus exclusively on protecting California’s air, water and open spaces. We speak out and take action at the local, state and national levels to improve the quality of our environment and our lives.

Global warming solutions

Global warming is real and it’s happening now. The good news is that it can be solved with solutions like renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner cars and a cap on carbon. By enacting smart policies and innovative solutions, we can dramatically cut pollution and be a leader for the rest of the country. We oppose attempts to roll back California’s premier global warming laws. We support:

  • One Million Green Cars: We can drastically cut global warming pollution and reduce smog simply by switching to cleaner cars—including ones that release zero emissions. The technology exists, so we’re calling on our leaders to enact common sense policies to help us make the transition. We are working with Gov. Brown to implement his One Million Green Cars project.
  • High-speed rail: We support a high-speed rail system in California that reduces global warming and air pollution, while protecting critical habitat throughout the state.

More clean energy

Too much of the energy we use comes from dirty sources that harm our environment. By tapping into the power of the sun, utilizing our wind energy potential, and using less energy in the first place through efficiency measures, we can repower our lives with clean energy that doesn’t pollute and never runs out. Our goals include:

  • More solar schools: Environment California supports working with school districts around the state to install solar panels. Recent reports show that installing solar panels on schools is a great way to save money and avert future energy costs.
  • Implementing Proposition 39: The passage of Prop. 39 showed once again that Californians are in favor of clean energy. Prop. 39 created a $550 million fund for clean energy programs in California. We support programs that will increase the use of clean energy.
  • A solar Los Angeles: The fact that Los Angeles averages 329 sunny days a year, and yet is still getting less than 1 percent of its energy from the sun, is crazy. To a lot of us, this is a no-brainer. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) needs to do much more when it comes to covering LA’s roofs with solar power. We are working to ensure that Los Angeles generates 20 percent of its energy needs with solar power by 2020.

Ban fracking

Fracking is a dirty and dangerous drilling process that uses millions of gallons of clean water, and creates millions of gallons of contaminated water. We support legislation that bans fracking in California.

Preserve our beautiful places

California is home to some of the most amazing places on earth—from the redwoods up north, to the rivers, lakes, deserts and canyons in the central part of the state, to the beaches in the south. Yet, too many of our beautiful places are in jeopardy. We’re working to:

  • Expand Yosemite: Environment California supports federal legislation to expand Yosemite National Park.
  • Protect state parks: We support a plan to develop long-term and permanent funding for our state parks.
  • Preserve the Pacific Crest Trail: Environment California supports legislation to provide full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by the end of the 113th Congress, and to secure at least $450 million this year.

Protect the Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is in trouble. The bottom line is that we are taking too much good stuff out of the ocean, by overfishing for example, and dumping too much bad stuff into our ocean, such as plastic trash and oil. We need to create a plan that protects and preserves the Pacific Ocean, including such measures as:

  • Banning plastic bags: Environment California supports local action to reduce the amount of plastic in the Pacific Ocean, including banning plastic bags, single-use Styrofoam from restaurants and single-use water bottles.
  • Reducing plastic pollution: Environment California supports statewide efforts to get at the root of single-use plastic pollution, and will work with groups to reduce the flow of plastic into the Pacific Ocean.
  • Expanding our Marine Protected Areas: Environment California supports protecting every inch of the proposed expansion area for Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

Green chemistry

With 85,000 chemicals in commercial use, it is no surprise that Californians are over-exposed to a vast array of hazardous ones. We want safer products, but we don’t even know which chemicals are toxic, or which products—many of which we use every day—contain them. Environment California supports the state’s Green Chemistry Program, which is a way to give the state the authority to reduce our use and exposure to dangerous toxic chemicals. We support:

  • Banning the most dangerous chemicals: Environment California supports banning the use of toxic flame-retardants in our furniture.

Green agriculture

Too much of our food is being produced unsustainably. We need to move away from dangerous chemicals and agricultural practices that harm the environment and our drinking water, and move toward a cleaner and greener food production system. We support:

  • Reducing pesticides: Environment California supports raising the Mill Fee to fund alternatives to dangerous pesticides, and supports banning the use of dangerous pesticides in and around schools.
  • Labeling GMOs: Environment California supports the labeling of GMO foods.