The Barbed Wire - February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017
RCRC Staff Visits Lake County
State Working to Identify Low-Income Communities for Cap-and-Trade Funding
Water Conservation Policy Report Drafted
Proposed Sites Reservoir Public Scoping Meetings Held
SB 1383 Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) – Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions
Cannabis Caucus Formed in House of Representatives
BULLETIN BOARD
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
REGULATORY UPDATE

RCRC Staff Visits Lake County

On Tuesday, RCRC staff visited Lake County to provide an organizational overview, and present an update on the organization’s 2017/18 legislative and regulatory priorities to the Lake County Board of Supervisors.  Justin Caporusso, Vice President of External Affairs/Administration, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Senior Legislative Advocate, and Staci Heaton, Regulatory Affairs Advocate, discussed the current status of efforts related to disadvantaged communities, State Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), local marijuana taxes, multi-county assessment appeals boards, and wildfire funding, among others. 

A brief synopsis of RCRC’s 2017-18 legislative priorities can be accessed in a recent article from RCRC Chair Bob Williams (Tehama), titled The Year Ahead for California’s Rural Counties.

State Working to Identify Low-Income Communities for Cap-and-Trade Funding

The California Air Resources Board has released a proposed methodology for identifying low-income communities to meet the requirements of Assembly Bill 1550 (Gomez), which was signed into law in 2016.  The bill changed the requirements for allocating proceeds from the State’s Cap-and-Trade program, which previously required that 25 percent be spent in or to the benefit of specifically defined disadvantaged communities, to now mandate that an additional 5 percent be spent in low-income communities around the state, and another 5 percent be spent in communities within one-half mile of an already established disadvantaged community.  

While RCRC has long been critical of the way the California Environmental Protection Agency has chosen to define disadvantaged communities for allocating Cap-and-Trade funds, the proposed methodology for defining low-income communities will capture many of the socioeconomically challenged areas in RCRC member counties that have previously been shut out of many funding opportunities.  The new definition also allows for those California communities not already receiving benefits from Cap-and-Trade funds to push for the 5 percent to be spent in new areas, and in different ways, such as grant programs to help private landowners mitigate the impacts of tree mortality.  RCRC will be actively advocating during the State Budget process for funds to be spent on projects that benefit rural, low-income communities not already receiving benefit from disadvantaged communities funding.

The proposed methodology for identifying low-income communities, along with interactive maps and related documents, can be accessed here

Water Conservation Policy Report Drafted

The water conservation policy report implementing the Governor’s Executive Order (E.O. 37-16) on water conservation has been drafted and sent to the Governor’s Office awaiting approval.  The current estimate has the report being released within the next two weeks.  

In the event there are approved recommendations affecting water agencies and others, Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-Marin) is expected to author a measure in this area, although still awaiting details.  You may recall that the responsible Agencies (led by the Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture) convened two Advisory Groups to review the report required by the E.O. – one representing urban water interests, and the other representing agricultural interests.  The two groups provided multiple recommendations, a good number of which were incorporated in the final public draft.

Proposed Sites Reservoir Public Scoping Meetings Held

Two public scoping meetings were held this past week by the Sites Joint Powers Authority to gather comments from stakeholders and the public about the environmental review process for the proposed Sites Reservoir project (Sites).  The first was held in Sacramento on Wednesday, and the second was held in Maxwell on Thursday.  The question most often asked of the various Authority representatives involved if and/or how Sites might have affected the state’s water delivery infrastructure in light of the recent Oroville Dam issue.  

In short, at best a marginal improvement in stored water of approximately 5800 acre-feet and an equally nominal “relief” of the pressure on downstream levees.

The environmental review process is an application requirement for the state's Water Storage Investment Program created by Proposition 1, which will provide money to selected water storage projects throughout the state.  The JPA will act as the lead agency in preparing the environmental impact report in partnership with the Department of Water Resources.  The Bureau of Reclamation is the lead agency in conducting the federal feasibility study for the project.  Reclamation is a cost-sharing partner with the JPA to determine the federal government's interest and role in the project.

JPA staff and Reclamation staff were available to answer questions and provide information at both meetings. Written comments from the public will be accepted at both meetings and through March 2, 2017.

Detailed information about the scoping process and the Sites Project can be accessed here.  For questions regarding the project or meetings, call Janet Barbieri with the JPA at (530) 919-9306, or Mike Dietl with Reclamation at (916) 978-5070.

SB 1383 Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) – Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions

The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has embarked upon the informal process of development of regulations to meet the reduction goals of organic waste methane emissions as part of the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant goals in Senate Bill 1383 (Lara, 2016).  SB 1383 supported the goal in AB 1826 (Chesbro, 2014) of 50 percent organic diversion from landfills by 2020, and established a new goal of 75 percent organic diversion from landfills by 2025.  

The bill requires CalRecycle, in consultation with the Air Resources Board, to adopt regulations not to take effect prior to January 1, 2022.  CalRecycle held a preliminary workshop earlier this week to solicit input from stakeholders on initial regulatory concepts.  CalRecycle anticipates working throughout 2017 on the informal process and beginning the formal rulemaking process in 2018.  It is their hope to adopt the regulations early to allow jurisdictions ample time to know what is expected prior to the January 1, 2022 implementation date. 

Additional information can be accessed here.

Cannabis Caucus Formed in House of Representatives

This week, members of the House of Representatives announced the formation of the Cannabis Caucus.  Founding members include Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK).  The bipartisan caucus was formed to improve the odds of passing federal marijuana reform legislation as a total of eight states, including California, and the District of Columbia have now legalized recreational use, and 28 states have legalized medical use.  

Newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has consistently opposed the legalization of marijuana in the past, has not announced how the U.S. Department of Justice will address marijuana policies implemented under the Obama administration.

BULLETIN BOARD

NOAA 2017 Coastal Resilience Grants

Click here

SALC Program Staff Seeks Feedback on Draft FY 2016-17 SALC Program Guidelines and Application Process

Click here

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

RCRC members are encouraged to share letters addressed to state and federal representatives and regulatory bodies with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.  Click “Read More” to access information related to the current status of legislation impacting California’s rural counties.  

Assembly Bill 174 (Bigelow): California Transportation Commission (CTC): Membership.  Assembly Bill 174 would require that at least one voting member serving on the CTC reside in a rural county with a population less than 100,000 individuals.  Status: AB 174 awaits action in the Assembly Transportation Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 179 (Cervantes): California Transportation Commission (CTC).  Assembly Bill 179 would require that six voting members of the CTC have specified qualifications.  Additionally, this bill would require that the CTC create an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, comprised of at least five members, to advise the CTC in its allocation and programming of transportation monies and other transportation policy matters.  Status: AB 179 awaits action in the Assembly Transportation Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 211 (Bigelow): State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fees.  Assembly Bill 211 would require the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to provide an annual report to the Legislature which itemizes each expenditure on the State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Fee indefinitely.  Status: AB 211 awaits action in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 255 (Gallagher): Sexually Violent Predators: Out of County Placement. Assembly Bill 255 would require the court to consider additional factors when determining the county of placement for a sexually violent predator outside the county of domicile.  Additionally, the bill would provide that if those factors do not identify a suitable county for conditional release that is not the county of domicile, the county of conditional release is the county in which the person was arrested for the crime for which he or she was last incarcerated in the state prison or from which he or she was last returned from parole.  Status: AB 255 awaits action in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 288 (Obernolte): State Responsibility Areas: Fire Prevention Fees.  Assembly Bill 288 would extend the period for paying a Fire Prevention Fee from 30 days to 60 days from the date of the assessment by the State Board of Equalization. Status: AB 288 awaits action in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 425 (Caballero): Timber Harvesting Plans: Exemptions.  Assembly Bill 425 would expand the Forest Fire Prevention Pilot Project Exemption to allow the construction or reconstruction of temporary roads on slopes of 40 percent or less if certain conditions are met, including that a registered professional forester designates temporary road locations, associated class III watercourse crossings, and unstable areas, on specified maps.  Status: AB 425 awaits referral in the Assembly.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 583 (Wood): Emergency Medical Air Transportation.  Assembly Bill 583 would extend the dates of the Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act, so that the assessment of the penalties will terminate commencing January 1, 2028, and any monies unexpended and unencumbered in the Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act Fund on June 30, 2029, will transfer to the General Fund.  The bill would extend the operation of the Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act until January 1, 2030.  Status: AB 583 awaits referral in the Assembly.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 9 (Gaines): State Responsibility Areas: Fires Prevention Fees.  Senate Bill 9 would repeal the imposition of State Responsibility Area fees upon structure owners.  Status: SB 9 awaits action in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 167 (Skinner): Supplemental Security Income & CalFresh: Pre-enrollment.  Senate Bill 167 would require the State Department of Social Services, on or before March 31, 2018, to request a waiver to allow for the pre-enrollment of otherwise eligible applicants to the CalFresh program up to one month prior to the applicant’s reentry into the community from a county jail or state prison.  Status: SB 167 awaits action in the Senate Human Services Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 339 (Roth): Veterans Treatment Courts: Judicial Council Assessment.  Senate Bill 339 would require the Judicial Council to report to the Legislature on a study of veterans and veterans treatment courts that includes a statewide assessment, as specified, of veterans treatment courts currently in operation and a survey of counties that do not operate veterans treatment courts that identifies barriers to program implementation and assesses the need for veterans treatment courts in those counties, if funds are received for that purpose.  Status: SB 339 awaits referral in the Senate.  RCRC Position: Support

REGULATORY UPDATE

RCRC members are encouraged to submit comments on regulatory matters to state and federal regulatory bodies, and to provide a copy to RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.  Click “Read More” to access information related to the current status of regulations impacting California’s rural counties.  

California Forest Carbon Plan.  Provides opportunity for public comment on the State Forest Carbon Plan, which lays out a blueprint for forest management actions in California on all levels of forestland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon storage and sequestration.  Agency: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Status: Draft available for public comment, comments due by March 17, 2017.  Draft proposal and related documents can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments: RCRC is seeking member county input.  RCRC Advocate: Staci Heaton sheaton@rcrcnet.org

Revised Draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy.  The revised Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Reduction Strategy and relevant Appendices have been released for public review and comments.  The SLCP Reduction Strategy addresses black carbon, methane, and hydroflourocarbons (HFC) emissions, and lays out a range of options to reduce SLCP emissions in California, including regulations, incentives, and other market-supporting activities.  Agency: Air Resources Board (ARB) Status: The revised SLCP Reduction Strategy and relevant Appendices was released on November 28, 2016, with comments due by January 17, 2017.  Three SLCP Strategy workshops were held the week of December 12, 2016.  The Revised Draft SLCP Reduction Strategy and Revised Draft Environmental Analysis (Appendix E) will be considered at the March 23 and 24, 2017 ARB monthly meeting.  The revised SLCP Reduction Strategy, notice of public workshops, and other related documents can be accessed hereRCRC Comments: Click here RCRC Advocates: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org and Staci Heaton sheaton@rcrcnet.org

The 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update.  The 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update: The Proposed Strategy for Achieving California’s 2030 Greenhouse Gas Target, builds upon the framework adopted in the initial Scoping Plan and the 2014 Update by establishing recommendations and priorities for the State to achieve its 2030 climate goals.  Agency: Air Resources Board (ARB) Status: The 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update was released January 20, 2017, with comments due by March 6, 2017.  Two informational hearings were conducted on January 27 and February 16, 2017 in Sacramento.  The 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update will be considered at the April 27 and 28, 2017 ARB monthly meeting.  The 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update, hearing schedules and other related documents can be accessed hereRCRC Comments: Click here RCRC Advocates: Staci Heaton sheaton@rcrcnet.org and Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

General Plan Safety Element Review and Assessment.  The proposed rule establishes a standardized review process for Board of Forestry review of a draft element or a draft amendment to the safety element of a county or a city’s general plan that contains State Responsibility Areas (SRA) or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones.  Agency: Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (Board) Status: The proposed rule was republished December 23, 2016, with comments due by February 7, 2017.  The Board anticipates holding a public hearing on March 8, 2017.  The proposed rule can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments: Staff welcomes input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

Regulating Suction Dredge Mining to Protect Water Quality.  Five public workshops have been scheduled in early 2017 to solicit input on what action should be taken to protect water quality from suction dredge mining in accordance with Senate Bill 637.  Agency: State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Status: Workshops were held in Fresno on January 17, 2017; San Bernardino on January 18, 2017; Orleans on January 24, 2017; Redding on January 25, 2017; and Sacramento on February 6, 2017.  The notice can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments: Staff is seeking input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

Draft 2017 Update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP).  The CVFPP is a long-range plan for improving flood risk management in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river Basins.  The plan provides a comprehensive framework for system-wide management and flood risk reduction planning and is required to update every five years.  This first update refines the overall near and long-term investment needs established in the CVFPP, and includes recommendations on policies and financing that support comprehensive flood risk management actions locally, regionally, and system-wide.  Agency: Department of Water Resources Status: The draft was released on December 30, 2016, with comments due by March 31, 2017.  Five public outreach hearings have been scheduled in February and March 2017 throughout the Central Valley.  The draft update, draft Supplemental Program EIS, and scheduled workshop details can be accessed hereRCRC Comments: Staff is seeking input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org