California Passes Suite of Environmental Bills as Session Comes to a Close
September 15, 2022
As California’s legislative session wrapped up in late August, legislators passed and sent a range of environmental bills to the Governor’s desk for enactment. This late-session success signifies a deep commitment and sense of partnership among legislators throughout the Golden State to enact strong environmental policy. Bills that passed in the final weeks of session include those to conserve wildlife and habitats, reduce climate-harming emissions, limit exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals, and more. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the major environmental bills California legislators passed as their 2022 session came to a close.
Land Use and Outdoor Engagement
- Equitable Outdoor Access – A.B.30: Declares that it is state policy to ensure that all Californians have safe and affordable access to nature and the benefits of nature. Requires specified state agencies to consider and incorporate this policy when revising, adopting, or establishing policies, regulations, or grant criteria, or making expenditures.
- Investing in Trails – A.B.1789: Requires the existing California Recreational Trails System Plan to include recommended priorities for funding to improve and expand nonmotorized natural surface trails.
- 30×30 Conservation Goal – A.B.2278: Requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to prepare and submit an annual report to the Legislature on the progress made during the prior calendar year toward achieving the state’s goal of conserving at least 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. Learn more about 30×30.
- Habitat Connectivity and Roadway Safety – A.B.2344: Requires, among other provisions, the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to assess the potential of any new state highway project to significantly impair wildlife connectivity and remediate those barriers in consultation with California Department of Wildlife (CDFW).
- Curbing the Spread of Wildlife Diseases – S.B.1029: Requires certain state agencies to jointly establish and administer the One Health Program for the purpose of developing a framework for interagency coordination in responding to zoonotic diseases and reducing hazards to human and nonhuman animal health. Learn more about state action on wildlife diseases.
- Neonicotinoid Pesticides – A.B.2146: Prohibits the sale, possession, or use of neonicotinoid pesticides for most non-agricultural uses. Learn more about neonicotinoids.
Climate, Energy, and Transportation
- Net-Zero Emissions – A.B.1279: Commits California to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2045.
- Community Solar – A.B.2316: Requires at least 51 percent of subscribers for each project to be low-income; requires projects to be built by workers paid prevailing wages; pays community solar production based on the avoided-cost calculator to incentivize battery storage; and requires projects to be connected to the distribution grid to advance local resilience. Learn more about community solar.
- Nature-Based Climate Solutions – A.B.1757: Requires the state to set targets for 2030, 2038, and 2045 to remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere with nature-based methods such as planting trees and restoring wetlands. Learn more about nature-based climate solutions.
- Setback Requirement for Oil Wells – S.B.1137: Ensures a setback requirement of 3,200 feet from schools and homes for oil wells to minimize the pollution impacts on public health. The bill also prohibits the authorization of new wells in health protection zones beginning in 2023.
- Better Land Management Near Transit – A.B.2097: Prohibits a public agency from imposing any minimum automobile parking requirement on any residential, commercial, or other development project located within a mile of public transit.
- PFAS in Cosmetics – A.B.2771: Prohibits the manufacturing and sale of any cosmetic product that contains certain intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
- PFAS in Clothing – A.B.1817: Prohibits the manufacturing and sale of new clothing and textile articles that contain regulated PFAS.
- PFAS Disclosure A.B.2247: Requires manufacturers of products or product components containing intentionally added PFAS, to register said products on a publicly accessible data collection interface.
- Learn more about PFAS.
- Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging – S.B. 54:Establishes a producer responsibility program for paper and plastic packaging and will require certain reductions in single-use plastic packaging.
- New Incineration Standards – A.B.1857: Removes the diversion credit for municipal solid waste incinerators and redefines the practice of incineration as disposal.
- Single-Use Bag Ban – S.B.1046: Bans the use of plastic ‘precheckout’ bags.
- Recycled Content in Food Containers – A.B.2784: Establishes recycled content requirements for thermoform plastic food containers and requires a minimum amount of the recycled content to come from recycled thermoform.
- State Procurement Standards for Recycled Products – A.B.661: Requires state agencies to purchase recycled products when recycled products are available at no more than 10% greater the total cost of nonrecycled products.
- A.B.2225 (Introduced, 2022): Would require California’s Natural Resource Agency to conduct a series of regional workshops with Native American tribes across the state to solicit input, priorities, and concerns of tribes regarding the state’s collection, acquisition, storage, and use of traditional ecological knowledge. Would also require, in consultation with the Governor’s tribal advisor, to adopt a policy
- While this bill did not pass this session, it serves as a promising model for meaningful engagement with tribes on environmental and ecological knowledge.