Dec. 19, 2008
Almond Board
California Legislative Report: Update on State Issues Affecting California's Almond Industry

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Global Warming
  • State approves ambitious greenhouse-gas plan - - With a promise to look more closely at the economic impacts of fighting climate change, the California Air Resources Board  unanimously approved an ambitious new greenhouse-gas game plan for the state. "This scoping plan puts California on a path to a low-carbon, sustainable, green economy," said CARB Chairman Mary Nichols. The cuts to greenhouse gases are required under Assembly Bill 32, a state law passed in 2006 that committed California to the nation’s most aggressive anti-global-warming target - reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The air board’s moves are being watched closely around the country. The plan approved this afternoon is an outline of the state’s climate strategy. The biggest emissions reductions will come from a tripling of the renewable power generation capacity by 2020, major improvements in the energy efficiency of homes and businesses, a sharp increase in vehicle fuel economy and a reduction in the carbon content of motor fuels. The plan also demands major cuts through a new market for buying and selling the right to produce greenhouse gases - a so-called cap and trade system. <more> Dec. 11, 2008 Sacramento Bee

  • State bill to voluntarily label carbon footprint of consumer products - - Legislation has been introduced in the Assembly that would require the California Air Resources Board to develop a voluntary program for labeling the carbon footprint of products sold in California. AB 19 was introduced by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin (D-Los Altos) who is the former chair of the Assembly Environment Committee and currently Chair of the Assembly Budget Sub-Committee on Natural Resources. As chair he will oversee the implementation of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The bill’s principal sponsor is Carbon Label California. The bill was first introduced in March 2008. The bill will be taken up when the Assembly reconvenes Jan. 5, 2009. Dec. 12, 2008

Transportation

  • Air Board Passes New Rules for On-Road Diesel Trucks - - The California Air Resources Board on Dec. 12 passed its long-awaited new rules for on-road heavy-duty diesel trucks that will require retrofit or replacement of nearly the entire fleet of long-haul trucks that travel in California. The rules were established to help bring California in line with Clean Air Act requirements for air pollutants including particulate matter and NOx emissions, and to reduce diesel soot, which California considers a toxic air contaminant.  In a nutshell, the regulation requires all trucks and buses operated within the state of California with a gross vehicle weight ratio more than 14,000 pounds comply with 2010 engine standards for PM10 and NOx emissions within the next 14 years. “In the short term you will have to have a soot trap filter in place and in the long term the new rules will require replacing diesel engines with a newer, cleaner burning engine. When you have to get this done depends on the age of the motor,” said ABC’s Gabriele Ludwig. Beginning in 2011, pre-1994 engine model year trucks must be retrofitted with a Verified Diesel Emission Control System (VDECS), or soot filter. The rules will be phased in annually according to engine year model until all trucks have been retrofitted or contain a soot filter by Jan. 1, 2014. Concurrently, beginning in 2013 older motors will need to be replaced with cleaner burning engines that meet emissions levels for NOx of a 2010 engine. These rules will also be phased in over 10 years until all trucks have cleaner burning engines by the year 2023.Visit the ARB website at http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2008/truckbus08/appa.pdf for specific requirements and timelines.

Water

  • The Delta debate: Resurrecting the canal - - California as we know it today was built largely on this fantasy: That arid cities in the south could indefinitely satisfy the thirst of a growing population by importing water from the north.  The fantasy endured for a while, buoyed by water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, it drains 40 percent of California, transporting vital snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada across the state. Recent events have revealed the truth: California is reaching the limit of its water supplies, and the economy and the environment are suffering for it.  The future offers even harsher realities: Global warming is drying up the snowpack and natural disasters could shatter the Delta. Now, the state's water planners are proposing the most sweeping landscape change in America, resurrecting an audacious notion for re-plumbing this state ¨C a controversial idea that many thought died long ago. <more> Dec. 14, 2008 Sacramento Bee  To view an interactive map, join in a forum on the Delta and see other features from this Bee series on the Delta, please click here.

Washington DC

  • Former Iowa Gov. Vilsack nominated as USDA Secretary - - Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack was nominated by President-elect Obama to be his secretary of agriculture. First elected governor in 1998, Vilsack, 58, had a reputation as a political centrist. He balanced Iowa’s budget and resisted raising taxes, but he was willing to spend money on education and health. He argued that pushing alternative energy sources was key to bolstering rural areas that are struggling economically and with vanishing populations.

State Ag Vision

  • California Agricultural Vision framework released  - - The California State Board of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture  (CDFA) are releasing the California Agricultural Vision framework for public comment. This “Ag Vision” will help craft long term policy priorities for California’s food system that will bring together various stakeholders with the common goal of advancing innovation and the sustainability of California’s agricultural future. This includes perspectives from farmers, ranchers and processors as well as nutrition, conservation, environmental and rural development groups. The Ag Vision is a culmination of seven public listening sessions and hundreds of comments submitted by agricultural stakeholders.  It reflects the issues, policy priorities and needs of California’s food sector.  Public feedback on the Ag Vision is due by February 20, 2009. Comments can be submitted online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/agvision , emailed at agvision@cdfa.ca.gov or sent to California Agricultural Vision, 1220 N Street, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95814. The complete Ag Vision framework is available at www.cdfa.ca.gov/agvision

     

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