Focus on drinking water

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 13, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This year there were two bills introduced in the legislature aimed at moving responsibility for drinking water from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).  SB 117 by Senator Michael Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) disappeared with his resignation from the Senate, but AB 145 by Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno) passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate.  These bills were spurred by communities in the Central Valley who lack potable drinking water and are having difficulty accessing money held by DPH, earmarked by the Federal government to build new drinking water plants.

On Wednesday, June 12th, AB 145 passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. While numerous local community groups and environmental justice advocates supported AB 145, there was widespread opposition that instead recommended two other options. 

One alternative advocated by the Environmental Health Officers Association was the transfer of the revolving fund to the SWRCB, keeping the regulatory function within DPH. This is an approach that CMTA could endorse. The second option was the creation of a totally separate Drinking Water Agency within CalEPA. This alternative has been tagged with a $6 million dollar price tag. DPH opposed the bill detailing steps they have taken to correct earlier problems.

Perea was encouraged by the committee to embrace the ideas suggested by the opposition, but the bill still passed the committee with a party-line vote.

AB 145 will next be heard in the Senate Health Committee. 

Read more Environmental Impacts articles

Capitol updates archive 989898989