Environment and Natural Resources Publications

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Department of Parks and Recreation: LAO Alternative to Governor’s Budget-Balancing Proposal

March 12, 2008 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources


Governor’s Proposed Delta Actions: LAO’s Initial Fiscal Assessment

March 11, 2008 - Presented to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water


Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill, Resources Chapter

February 20, 2008 - Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill, Resources Chapter


State Park Fees

February 20, 2008 - We recommend that user fees in state parks be increased to avoid park closures as proposed by the Governor and to provide additional funding for state park maintenance.


Governor’s Hydrogen Highway Initiative

February 20, 2008 - We recommend that $6 million proposed for the Governor’s Hydrogen Highway initiative be rejected, because sufficient funding remains available from prior appropriations in light of the relatively little program progress to date. We also find that the Legislature is in a position to set its own hydrogen policy priorities before approving additional funding.


Funding Timber Harvest Plan Review and Enforcement

February 20, 2008 - We recommend the enactment of legislation to create a fee on timber operators to fully fund the review and enforcement of timber harvest plans by several state agencies, thereby creating General Fund savings of $21.2 million. Our recommendation is based on the application of the "beneficiary pays" funding principle.


Funding Water Quality and Water Rights Programs

February 20, 2008 - We recommend applying the "polluter pays" funding principle more fully to the State Water Resources Control Board’s core water quality and water rights programs by (1) increasing existing fees to fully cover regulatory program costs, and (2) enacting a new broad-based fee to fully fund water quality management programs. Adopting our recommendations would create General Fund savings of $30.6 million.


Funding Wildland Fire Protection

February 20, 2008 - The Governor’s proposed surcharge on commercial and residential insurance policies statewide to partially pay for wildland firefighting should be rejected in favor of a fee on property owners in "state responsibility areas" because these individuals directly benefit from the state’s firefighting services.


Funding Flood Management

February 20, 2008 - We recommend the enactment of legislation to establish a fee to cover the department’s flood management expenditures that provide a direct benefit to property owners in flood zones statewide and those protected by the state Central Valley flood control system, thereby creating General Fund savings of about $40 million.


Implementation of "AB 32"--Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

February 20, 2008 - Contrary to legislative direction, the Governor has failed to identify a stable, long-term source of funding in the budget for implementation of "AB 32"--climate change legislation enacted in 2006. Instead, the Governor has relied on more borrowing from unrelated special funds to pay for a majority of the program. While not taking issue with the merits of the activities proposed for funding, we recommend that the Legislature defer action on a majority of the budget proposal until the administration submits a funding plan that is responsive to legislative direction.


CALFED Bay-Delta Program

February 20, 2008 - Various Delta-related planning efforts, including Delta Vision, have made recommendations that, if adopted, will fundamentally change the future approach of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program. We recommend denial of some CALFED budget proposals on the basis that, contrary to recommendations of the planning efforts, they either lack clear objectives and funding priorities, do not apply the beneficiary pays funding principle, or do not meet the information needs of policy makers.


Restoring the Salton Sea

January 24, 2008 - First, we recommend the Legislature set explicit policy priorities in statute for addressing environmental problems at the Sea. We consider protection of air quality and preservation of wildlife habitat to be the highest priorities. Second, we recommend the Legislature adopt a comprehensive plan at the outset of the restoration process. Finally, we recommend the Legislature consider funding interim measures to address priority issues such as air quality or wildlife habitat in the near term.


Disaster Assistance

January 3, 2008 - With the recent Southern California wildfires, there has been significant interest in the programs that are available to help disaster victims. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information on the programs and funds available to deal with state disasters. We provide links to more specific information, such as program eligibility and rules.


The Office of Spill Prevention and Responses: Funding and Responsibilities

November 29, 2007 - Presented to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water Hon. Darrell Steinberg, Chair Senate Committee on Governmental Organization Hon. Dean Florez, Chair


The Office of Spill Prevention and Response: Funding and Responsibilities

November 20, 2007 - Assembly Committee on Natural Resources Hon. Loni Hancock, 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