Environment and Natural Resources Publications

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The 2014-15 Budget: Cap-and-Trade Auction Revenue Expenditure Plan

February 24, 2014 - In order to minimize the negative economic impact of cap-and-trade, it is important that auction revenues be invested in a way that maximizes GHG emission reductions for a given level of spending. In reviewing the Governor's proposed expenditure plan, we find that there is significant uncertainty regarding the degree to which each investment proposed for funding will achieve GHG reductions. This uncertainty is the result of several factors, including there being only limited data and analysis provided by the administration, as well as the fact that the level of emission reductions achieved would depend on the specific projects funded by departments. Given these concerns, we recommend that the Legislature direct ARB to develop metrics for departments to use in order to prospectively evaluate the potential GHG emission benefits of proposed projects, as well as direct the board to establish a set of guidelines for how departments should incorporate these metrics into their decision making processes.


The 2014-15 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 21, 2014 - In this report, we analyze the Governor's 2014-15 budget for the state's resources and environmental protection programs. We review and make recommendations on a number of major policy proposals, including a review of the administration's recently released Water Action Plan as well as the proposal to reduce or eliminate several programs currently funded by the Beverage Container Recycling Fund (commonly referred to as the "bottle bill"). We find that these policy proposals are generally reasonable approaches, though we identify trade-offs in the proposals and offer recommendations for legislative consideration. The report also identifies several issues included in the Governor's budget that merit additional legislative oversight. This includes the proposal to provide the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection with a total of $43 million from the General Fund to address deferred maintenance backlogs. While we find that it makes fiscal sense to address deferred maintenance, there is uncertainty about what factors have contributed to the large backlogs, as well as how the state can best address maintenance needs on an ongoing basis.


Financing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

February 12, 2014 - Presented to: Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee


Governance and Financing of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

August 13, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and Senate Governance and Finance Committee


Overview of Invasive Species Management in California

May 9, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Invasive Species


Overview of 2013-14 Governor's Budget for Resources

March 7, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources and Environmental Protection Hon. Jim Beall, Chair


Funding Principles for Building a Water Bond

February 26, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Governance and Finance Committee Hon. Lois Wolk, Chair and Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Hon. Fran Pavely, Chair


The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal

February 21, 2013 - The Governor’s 2013‑14 budget includes a plan to implement the provisions of Proposition 39, which increases state corporate tax (CT) revenues and requires that half of these revenues for a five-year period be used for energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. The Governor proposes to count all associated revenues toward the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges. The Governor also proposes to designate all energy-related Proposition 39 funds to schools ($400.5 million) and community colleges ($49.5 million) in 2013‑14 and for the following four years. The Governor’s proposal to count all Proposition 39 revenues toward the Proposition 98 calculation is a significant departure from our longstanding view that revenues are to be excluded from the Proposition 98 calculation if the Legislature cannot use them for general purposes. In addition, the proposal excludes other eligible projects besides schools and community colleges (such as public hospitals) that potentially could achieve greater energy benefits. Further, the proposal does not coordinate Proposition 39 funding with the state’s existing energy efficiency programs. In view of the above concerns, we recommend the Legislature exclude from the Proposition 98 calculation all Proposition 39 revenues required to be used on energy-related projects and not count spending from these revenues as Proposition 98 expenditures. In addition, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to administer a competitive grant process in which all public agencies, including schools and community colleges, could apply and receive funding based on identified facility needs.


The 2013-14 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 19, 2013 - In this report, we review the Governor’s 2013-14 budget proposals for various resources and environmental protection departments and programs, including the Department of Water Resources, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of Parks and Recreation, California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board. We identify concerns with several of the proposals and make recommendations for legislative consideration. In some cases, we identify proposals that we think should be rejected or modified. In particular, we point out several budget proposals that would impact state expenditures in future years. We also note that the proposed budget includes several proposals to use certain revenues for different activities that may not be legally allowable given the revenue source. In addition, we identify several issues in the report that we believe merit greater legislative oversight, including a new surcharge on investor-owned utility electricity bills that the California Public Utilities Commission has been collecting since January 2012 without legislative authorization.


Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Programs

December 19, 2012 - California currently maintains over a dozen major programs that are intended to support the development of energy efficiency and alternative energy in the state. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the state has spent a combined total of roughly $15 billion on such efforts. In response to the Supplemental Report of the 2012-13 Budget Package, this report provides an overview of these different programs, as well as a preliminary assessment of them in terms of priority, overlap, and redundancy. We find that the state currently lacks a comprehensive framework that fully coordinates the state's energy incentive programs to help ensure that the state’s goals are being achieved in the most cost-effective manner. The absence of such a comprehensive framework (1) results in some level of program duplication, (2) results in some departments making policy choices that may not be aligned to legislative priorities, and (3) makes it difficult to compare effectiveness across programs. As a result, we recommend that the Legislature develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy objectives. In general, the comprehensive strategy should specify: (1) the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy goals, (2) how programs should fit together to achieve the state’s goals, and (3) how program effectiveness will be measured.


Funding and Options for Near-Term Actions in the Delta

October 16, 2012 - Presented to: Senate Select Committee on Delta Stewardship and Sustainability Hon. Lois Wolk, Chair


Proposition 37: Genetically Engineered Foods

September 13, 2012 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Agriculture Hon. Cathleen Galgiani, Chair and Senate Committee on Agriculture Hon. Anthony Cannella, Chair


Department of Parks and Recreation: Current Funding Issues

August 9, 2012 - Department of Parks and Recreation: Current Funding Issues


Meeting the Environmental Goals of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

April 11, 2012 - Presented to: Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation Hon. S. Joseph Simitian, Chair


Overview of the Beverage Container Recycling Fund

April 11, 2012 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation Hon. Richard S. Gordon, Chair

Environment and Natural Resources Staff

Helen Kerstein
(916) 319-8364
Forestry, Parks, and High Speed Rail
Sonja Petek
(916) 319-8340
Water, Coastal Development, and Fish and Wildlife
Frank Jimenez
(916) 319-8324
Highways and Roads, Recycling, Agriculture, and Toxics
Luke Koushmaro
(916) 319-8355
Mass Transportation, Traffic Enforcement, Statewide Planning and Infrastructure
Sarah Cornett
(916) 319-8329
Air Quality, Energy, and Climate Change
Rachel Ehlers
(916) 319-8330
Deputy Legislative Analyst: Environment and Transportation