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September 22, 2021

Key environmental legislation passes assembly

Bills promote sustainable agriculture, climate resilience and environmental justice

CALIFORNIA—As California recovers from a historic heatwave, the State Assembly last week passed three bills by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) to help fight the climate crisis, incentivize sustainable agriculture, and advance environmental justice for all. 

“California has ambitious environmental goals, and the advancement of my legislation this week brings us one step closer to making those goals a reality,” said Assemblymember Rivas, who is Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Vice-Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus. “Climate change is the defining challenge of our era and we need to look at how every sector—from transportation, to agriculture, to our natural landscapes and more—can become part of the solution.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to move these bills through the Senate and on to the Governor’s desk.”

The three bills form a package advanced this legislative session by Asm. Rivas to promote innovative and equitable solutions to the state’s environmental challenges—and come on the heels of Mr. Rivas’s successful efforts to ban fracking in his home county of San Benito and the passage in 2019 of the Oil Transportation Safety Bill, which limited oil companies’ ability to ship dirty tar sands oil through California. The package is part of Mr. Rivas’s broader, ongoing efforts to champion needed policy for the environment—including, in particular, this session’s AB 125, the $3-billion Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms, and Worker Protection Bond Act.

Specifically, the bills passed this week out of the State Assembly are:

• AB 252 (with joint author Asm. Salas), which will help alleviate the impacts of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) on farmers and ensure that farmland taken out of production due to SGMA is reused to provide conservation, recreation, or other benefits to local communities.

• AB 284, which will ensure that the state incorporates natural and working lands into its strategies and plans to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and make communities more resilient to climate impacts.

• AB 1110, which will help local government agencies navigate procurement processes and access technical assistance and incentive programs in order to replace their fossil fuel-powered fleets with zero-emission vehicles.

The bills now head to the State Senate, where they will be heard in committee in the coming weeks.

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