Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire today is helping to lead the way on a new Senate Environmental Protection Legislative Package introduced to shield California from potential harmful changes in federal law.
California is home to 45 million acres of federal Wildlands which feature millions of acres of forest, scenic rivers and watersheds, which is the drinking source for millions of residents, open spaces and the rugged California coast.
“The threat to our Federal public lands is real and the consequences are great if the state doesn’t advance proactive policies to protect the Golden State’s treasured natural resources from the Trump Administration,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “Our federal Wildlands and National Parks are America’s gathering grounds, our nation’s backyard. These bills will help protect the 45 million acres of Federal lands that exist in California from devastating strip mines along with invasive oil and gas drilling.”
Senator McGuire represents seven counties in Northern California. 3.3 million acres of federal lands exist in the North Coast District.
Additional details related to the Legislative Package can be found here: Watch the CA Senate Environmental press conference from this morning here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaYkPYEOiBM (Senator McGuire’s remarks can be found at the 11:30 mark).
· Makes current federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state law, even if the federal government rolls back and weakens those standards.
· Directs state environmental, public health, and worker safety agencies to take all actions within their authorities to ensure standards in effect and being enforced today continue to remain in effect.
· Federal laws in these areas set “baselines”, but allow states to adopt more stringent standards. This bill simply ensures CA does not backslide as a result of rollbacks and damage done by the new regime in Washington DC.
· In 2003, when the Bush Administration attempted to enact similar rollbacks of federal clean air standards, the Legislature passed SB 288 (Chapter 476 statutes of 2003), the Protect CA Air Act. This measure builds on that platform.
· This measure establishes a new state policy to discourage conveyances of federal lands to private developers for resource extraction and directs the state Lands Commission, which oversees much of the federal lands in the state, to establish a right of first refusal by the state of any federal lands proposed for sale or conveyance to other parties.
· In doing so, this measure would ensure (a) that the state reviews any transactions involving federal lands here in CA to ensure those lands are protected, and (b) where feasible, important lands are protected via state action.
· Attorneys, engineers, scientists and other professionals working for federal agencies are often licensed to practice in California. US EPA attorneys and scientists who report cover ups, destruction of information, or other wrongdoing may have federal whistleblower protection but could still lose their professional certifications under California law.
· This measure would ensure federal employees do not lose state licensure for revealing violations of law, unethical actions or dangers to public health and safety. It also would direct state environmental and public health agencies to protect any information or data under state law, even if parties in Washington DC order their censorship or destruction.
· In 2003, the Legislature passed a similar law to provide state whistleblower protections (see AB 2713 of 2002). That bill was vetoed by then-Governor Schwarzenegger.