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February 21, 2001 - The most pressing challenge currently facing the state relates to its electricity crisis, especially in light of the multiplicity of ways that energy affects the economy and ultimately the state's finances.
February 21, 2001 - The Governor's budget proposes a number of augmentations totaling $1.2 billion ($1.1 billion General Fund) related to the state's energy crisis. These proposals would add nearly 100 positions across six departments.
February 21, 2001 - The 2001-02 budget proposes $414 million in state funds for CALFED. In determining a funding level for the program, there are a number of policy, fiscal, and programmatic issues for the Legislature to consider.
January 29, 2001 - We recommend that the Legislature hold oversight hearings to evaluate CALFED's proposal for the Environmental Water Account, implemented to acquire water for endangered species protection and recovery in the Bay-Delta region. There are many policy and implementation issues that the Legislature should consider before CALFED proceeds with the new program, including the program's costs, benefits, impacts, governance, and funding. Funding should be governed by the "beneficiary pays" principle.
January 24, 2001 - The state could do a better job at achieving its air quality goals if it exercised more effective oversight of the 35 local air districts. We think that a number of recent problems--including inconsistent and not fully effective local enforcement of air quality regulations--could have been reduced with such oversight. We make a number of recommendations to improve the state's role in air quality regulation.
January 5, 2001 - Because the state lacks a comprehensive land conservation plan, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of "conservancies" that acquire and protect undeveloped lands. We recommend that, in the short term, the Legislature limit the creation of additional conservancies and enact sunset review provisions for existing conservancies. In the longer term, we recommend a review of the state's overall approach to land conservation.
May 25, 2000 - The two bond measures provide for a major investment in the state's natural resources. The purpose of the report is to identify actions the Legislature can take to ensure that the bond measures are implemented effectively, efficiently, and consistent with the Legislature's goals in enacting the measures. We also recommend actions to provide accountability for bond-funded expenditures.
February 29, 2000 - Handout accompanying presentation to various legislative committees.
February 17, 2000 - The budget proposes language for the Wildlife Conservation Board and State Coastal Conservancy that would allow those departments to use a portion of land acquisition and improvement funding for administrative costs. We believe the language would permit fund redirections that may not match actual workload.
February 17, 2000 - We discuss three initiatives proposed in the budget--enforcement, children's health, and the California/Mexico border--that are designed to address environmental issues that cut across a number of the constituent boards and departments under the California Environmental Protection Agency.
February 17, 2000 - Problems in the locally implemented "CUPA" program include inconsistent statewide implementation, inadequate service levels in parts of the state, and inadequate state efforts to hold CUPAs accountable for their fee levels. We recommend the enactment of legislation requiring state oversight agencies to make program improvements.
February 17, 2000 - The CALFED Bay-Delta Program will soon shift from planning to making major policy and expenditure decisions about specific projects. We recommend the enactment of legislation to provide a formal organizational structure with clear lines of accountability to the Legislature for these impending decisions.
February 17, 2000 - Watershed assessments could be useful for improving regulatory and habitat restoration efforts. However, we find that the proposed assessment of North Coast watersheds will not achieve these goals.
February 17, 2000 - Departments within the Resources and Environmental Protection Agencies have generally disregarded legislative directive to provide program and expenditure information. We recommend that the Legislature withhold action on the budgets of the Secretaries for Resources and Environmental Protection (Cal-EPA) pending submittal of previously requested supplemental reports by the agencies.