Environment and Natural Resources Publications

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Report

Managing Floods in California

March 22, 2017 - This report is intended to provide basic information about floods and flood management in California. (Whereas previous generations referred to “flood control” or “flood prevention” activities, experts now prefer the term “flood management” in acknowledgement that floodwaters are recurring and inevitable.) We begin by summarizing the history, causes, and risk of floods across the state. We then describe flood management agencies, infrastructure, and strategies, as well as how governmental agencies typically respond when floods occur. Next, we describe the spending levels and funding sources currently supporting flood management efforts, as well as estimates for how much additional funding may be needed to improve those efforts. We conclude by highlighting some key challenges confronting the state in contemplating how best to manage floods in California.

Handout

Implementation of Past Natural Resources Bonds

March 21, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee

Handout

Overview of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

March 16, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy, and Transportation

Handout

Overview of Proposition 1 2014 Water Bond

March 16, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy, and Transportation

Post

Residential Water Use Trends and Implications for Conservation Policy

March 8, 2017 - For the past two years, urban water agencies in California have been submitting monthly data on residential water use to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The monthly update covering December 2016 was recently published on the board’s website, providing a full year of data for 2016. This web post discusses trends in residential water use and what these data imply for policymakers in the coming year.

Handout

Overview of the Governor’s 2017-18 Budget Proposal for Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3

March 8, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation

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The 2017-18 Budget: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

February 16, 2017 - In this analysis, we recommend two modifications to the Governor's proposed 2017-18 budget for the California Public Utilities Commission: (1) convert funding for one position in the Consumer Affairs Branch from permanent to two-year limited-term and (2) reject request for one position to publish contract information online.

Report

The 2017-18 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 15, 2017 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor's 2017-18 budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.

Report

The 2017-18 Budget: Cap-and-Trade

February 13, 2017 - In this report, we provide comments and recommendations related to the Governor’s proposal. We recommend the Legislature authorize cap-and-trade (or a carbon tax) beyond 2020. If the Legislature approves cap-and-trade, we recommend the Legislature strengthen the allowance price ceiling and provide clearer direction to ARB regarding the criteria that the board should use to determine whether a complementary policy should be adopted. We also recommend the Legislature approve cap-and-trade (or carbon tax) with a two-thirds vote because it would provide greater legal certainty and ensure ARB has the ability to design an effective program. With a two-thirds vote, we recommend the Legislature broaden the allowable uses of auction revenue because it would give the Legislature flexibility to use the funds on its highest priorities. When finalizing its 2017-18 cap-and-trade spending plan, we recommend the Legislature (1) reject the administration’s proposed language making spending contingent on future legislation, (2) consider alternative strategies for dealing with revenue uncertainty, and (3) allocate funds to specific programs rather than providing DOF that authority.

Report

Improving State’s Approach to Park User Fees

January 12, 2017 - The state park system contains nearly 280 parks, serves about 70 million visitors each year, and costs over $400 million a year to operate. These costs are mainly supported by the state General Fund and revenue generated by the parks, including roughly $100 million in fees paid by park users for day use, camping, and special events. In reviewing current fee-setting policies and procedures we find that the current lack of a statewide policy framework and standard process can lead to disparities in fees, infrequent reviews of fees, and inconsistent opportunities for public input. Our recommendations for improving how state park fees are determined and collected include (1) establishing a legislative fee policy that specifies the share of operational costs that should be borne by park users versus the General Fund (or alternative funding sources), (2) directing the State Parks and Recreation Commission to develop and regularly update fee guidelines to be implemented by state park districts in order to provide greater consistency throughout the state, and (3) specifying a fee-setting process that would be consistent statewide and provide greater opportunity for public input.

Post

Key Differences Between Recent Medical Cannabis Laws and Proposition 64: A Preliminary Review

December 20, 2016 - The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) provides a statutory framework for regulating medical cannabis and Proposition 64 of 2016 provides a statutory framework for regulating nonmedical cannabis. In this web post, we provide a preliminary review of the key differences between MCRSA and Proposition 64. We also describe some overarching issues for Legislative consideration.

(Updated 1/9/17)

Post

Hydraulic Fracturing: How It Works and Recent State Oversight Actions

December 1, 2016 - In 2014, the Legislature passed new laws intended to improve state oversight of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” In this web post, we provide a progress report on the implementation of these new laws and a high-level overview of how hydraulic fracturing is used to stimulate oil and natural gas production.

Post

New Federal Toxics Law Could Have Future Implications for State

October 5, 2016 - On June 22, 2016, the President signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The new law implements significant reforms to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Under the new law, U.S. EPA will have greater authority to evaluate and regulate existing chemicals, as well as new chemicals proposed to be brought to the market. In addition to providing EPA with more authority to enforce restrictions on chemicals, the new law places greater limits on the authority of states to enforce their own laws and regulations restricting the use of chemicals. In the long-run, it is quite possible that the new federal law—and specifically the preemption provisions—could significantly affect California’s chemical safety programs and the implementation of current and future state restrictions.

Handout

Overview of Bond Funding for California State Parks

August 5, 2016 - Presented to: Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee

Handout

2016-17 Cap-and-Trade Proposals

May 24, 2016 - 2016-17 Cap-and-Trade Proposals

Environment and Natural Resources Staff

Ross Brown
(916) 319-8345
Air Quality, Energy, and Climate Change
 
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
 
Eunice Roh
(916) 319-8327
Mass Transportation, Traffic Enforcement, Statewide Infrastructure
 
Rachel Ehlers
(916) 319-8330
Deputy Legislative Analyst: Environment and Transportation