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California Environmental Legislation Update 2008

At the close of the recent California legislative session, a slew of new environmental legislation passed. The bills range from placing regional or statewide targets towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions to providing guidelines for implementing cleaner and more sustainable industry. This Quarterly Review provides information and links related to newly enacted environmental bills of 2008.

AB 1879 and SB 509 move California towards a comprehensive green chemistry program to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals in products and the environment. AB 1879 established government authority to develop regulations that create a process for identifying and prioritizing chemicals of concern and to create methods for analyzing alternatives to existing hazardous chemicals. SB 509 creates an online Toxics Information Clearinghouse, a web-based database, to increase consumer knowledge about the toxicity and hazards of thousands of chemicals used in California every day.

AB 422 makes changes to the California Health and Safety Code and the California Water Code to encourage consistency between the cleanup practices of Brownfields performed by the Department of Toxic Substance Control and the State Water Resources Control Board.

SB 375 creates regional targets for greenhouse gas emissions tied to land use and requires regional planning agencies to create a plan to meet those targets, and regional transportation funding decisions to be consistent with the plan, even if these conflict with the regional plan already in place.

AB 109 requires the California Air Resource Board to report to the legislature annually on the status and progress of implementing the Global Warming Act of 2006.

AB 2267 creates incentives and preferences in various state programs for California-based companies involved in renewable, clean energy.  The programs include the Public Interest Energy Research program, the Self-generation Incentive Program, and others.

The AB 32 Final Scoping Plan contains important improvements from the original plan, including measures to reduce leakage of harmful air conditioning and refrigeration gases, expand commercial recycling programs, and establish greenhouse gas reduction targets for local governments.  A Notice of Public Meeting to consider approval of the scoping plan will be held on December 11, 2008 in Sacramento.

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