May 10, 2013
 

California Legislature 

  • Bills of interest to the almond industry - - May 31, 2013 is the last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house. Here is a look at some of the bills of interest to the almond industry.

  • Minimum wage bill passes first hurdle - - AB 10 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) that would raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation, passed passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on April 24, 2013.  The bill would increase the minimum wage to $8.25 on January 1, 2014 then further increase the minimum wage, on and after January 1, 2015, to not less than $8.75 per hour, and on and after January 1, 2016, to not less than $9.25 per hour.  The bill also would index the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index for Inflation, creating an annual trigger for wage increases.

  • Bill to change California's environmental review law advances - -  A bill that would make changes to California's landmark environmental review law moved forward in the state Senate May 1. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said his Senate Bill 731, which passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee May 1, 2013, is an attempt to cut down on project delays the business community has long blamed on the California Environmental Quality Act without undermining the environmental protections the 1970 law provides. He acknowledged that the current bill is a work in progress.  

  • Several fracking bills passed by Assembly Natural Resources - - The Assembly Natural Resources Committee has passed several pieces of legislation on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Some require stricter oversight of fracking practices and disclosure of chemicals used, but others prohibit the practice until the state can study it further. Each of the bills has now been referred to the Appropriations Committee. The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee also passed fracking legislation which has been referred to the Environmental Quality Committee. Here is a look at the current status of those bills:  
     

    • Fracking. AB 288 by Assemblyman  Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). This bill would define “hydraulic fracturing” and require the operator of a well, at least 30 days prior to any hydraulic fracturing operations, to file with the supervisor or the district deputy a written notice of intention, as specified, to commence hydraulic fracturing. This bill was approved on April 15, 2013 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee.  May 8, 2013
       

    • Fracking. AB 669 by Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz). This bill would additionally require the operator prior to drilling operations to submit proof to the supervisor that the applicable regional water quality control board has approved the method and location of wastewater disposal for the well.  This bill was approved on April 15, 2013 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee.  May 8, 2013
       

    • Fracking. State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced SB 395, a bill to regulate the wastewater produced from fracking. Jackson’s bill would require that any fluids brought up during the fracking process be regulated as a hazardous waste by the Department of Toxic Substances Control, giving it the authority to ensure that the appropriate precautions are taken in how the wastewater is transported and disposed. This bill was approved on May 1, 2013  by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committe. May 8, 2013
       

    • Fracking. Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced AB 982, which would require companies fracking for oil and gas in California to monitor groundwater near their operations. The proposed legislation would require monitoring of groundwater quality both before and after any fracking. This bill was approved on  April 15, 2013 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013
       

    • Fracking. Two bills are seeking to define hydraulic fracturing and hydraulic fracturing fluid as well as requiring new rules and regulations specific to hydraulic fracturing be adopted by Jan. 1, 2015. SB 4 was introduced by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Los Angeles) and AB 7 was introduced by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont.) SB 4 passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on May 1, 2013  and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. AB 7 passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 15, 2013 and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013

    • Fracking. AB 649 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks)  would define “hydraulic fracturing” in oil and gas operations and would prohibit hydraulic fracturing, as well as the use of clean freshwater for purposes of hydraulic fracturing, on any oil or gas well, if the well is located ____ miles from an aquifer, until the completion of a report, as specified, and a determination is made that hydraulic fracturing can be conducted without a risk to the public health, welfare, environment, or the economy of the state. The bill was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 29, 2013 and referred to the Appropriations Committe. May 8, 2013

    • Fracking. AB 1303 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) would define “hydraulic fracturing” and would prohibit hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas operations until the Legislature enacts subsequent legislation that determines whether and under what conditions hydraulic fracturing may be conducted while protecting the public health and safety and the natural resources of the state. The bill was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 29, 2013 and referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013

    • Fracking. AB 1332 by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City) would define “hydraulic fracturing” in oil and gas operations and would prohibit hydraulic fracturing until the completion of a report, as specified, and a determination is made that hydraulic fracturing can be conducted without a risk to the public health and welfare, environment, or the economy of the state. The bill would also express the intent of the Legislature to, among other things, protect the public health and welfare, natural and environmental resources, and economic interest of the state. The bill was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 29, 2013 and referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013.

    NITRATES

  • Nitrates. AB 467  The Freshwater Protection Act by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey) would create a reliable, stable funding source to provide long-term, safe drinking water infrastructure, as well as short-term solutions for communities impacted by nitrates. The bill was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 16, 2013 and referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013

  • Nitrates. AB 69 Nitrate at Risk Area Fund by Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) This bill would establish the Nitrate at Risk Area Fund, to be administered by the board and, upon appropriation by the Legislature, moneys in the fund would be available for the purposes of developing and implementing sustainable and affordable solutions for disadvantaged communities in specified areas designated by the department, in conjunction with the board. This bill was passed by the Assembly on April 15, 2013 and is now being considered by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.  May 8, 2013
     

  • Nitrates. AB 145  State Water Resources Control Board drinking water by Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno). This bill would transfer from the State Department of Public Health to the State Water Resources Control Board the various duties and responsibilities imposed on the department by  the California Safe Drinking Water Act. This bill was approved by the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxics Material Committee on April 30, 2013 and referred to the Appropriations Committee.  May 8, 2013
     

  • Nitrates. AB 21 -Safe Drinking Water Small Community Emergency Grant Fund by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) This bill would authorize the department to assess a specified annual charge in lieu of interest on loans for water projects made pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and deposit that money into the Safe Drinking Water Small Community Emergency Grant Fund, which the bill would create in the State Treasury. The bill would authorize the department to expend the money for grants for specified water projects that serve disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities, thereby making an appropriation. This bill has been sent to the suspense file.  May 8, 2013

AIR QUALITY

  • Air quality incentive funding - - Legislation has been introduced in the state Assembly and Senate that would continue incentive funding for equipment replacement to meet air quality standards. The program by the state air board has proven to be very popular with farmers looking for assistance in purchasing cleaner burning farm equipment. SB 11 was introduced by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Los Angeles) . The bill was approved on April 9, 2013 by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee.  AB 8 was introduced by  Assemblymembers Henry Perea (D-Fresno) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley.) AB 8 was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013

  • PESTICIDES
     

  • Pesticides- toxic air contaminant control measures.  AB 304 by Assemblyman Das Williams  (D-Santa Barbara)  would require the written determination regarding control measures for each pesticide listed as a toxic air contaminant and all findings made by consulting agencies be made available to the public. This bill was approved on April 16, 2013 by the Assembly Environmental, Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee. May 8, 2013

Water

Congress

  • GMO foods subject of bill in U.S. Senate - - Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., have introduced a bill, Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, to order the Food and Drug Administration to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The legislation, which would require food manufacturers and stores to tag items made with genetically modified ingredients or grown from genetically engineered seeds, has support from both sides of the aisle, including more than 20 co-sponsors combined in the Senate and House of Representatives. Boxer tried to pass a similar bill, without success, in 2000. The federal bill would include all food items under the FDA's purview. Foods such as beef and poultry, which are overseen by the Department of Agriculture, would also follow the labeling law.

     

Air Quality

  • Ag air quality conference at UC Davis June 27-28 - - An agricultural air quality conference jointly sponsored by UC Davis and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will be held June 27-28 at the UC Davis conference center. The conference’s major focus will be on discussing a “risk-based” strategy proposed by the SJVAPCD as an alternative to the current federal/state air quality regulatory framework.  The SJVAPCD is also currently one of only two areas in the nation (South Coast AQMD being the other) classified as “extreme” non-attainment for ozone. Sessions include: * The Scientific Foundation for a Risk-Based Approach to Particulate Controls. * Development of the Risk-Based Approach to Air Quality Policy and Public Health. * - Evolution Towards Low-Risk Pesticides. * Applying the Approach to Policies - Potential Applications & Research Gaps.  *Policy Efficacy of the RB/MP Approach: Opportunities and Constraints. Optional Tours include * Bovine Bubbles. * Anaerobic BioMass Digester. * Olive Oil Center & Tasting Registration information is available at  https://sites.google.com/site/ucdavisaqaq/home 

Archives - - Click here for past issues