Mike Rogge

Environmental quality legislation update

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Sept. 11, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On the environmental front, there has been a lot of action in the last two weeks of session. AB 1142 (Adam Gray, D-Merced) – Surface Mining stalled, but SB 162 (Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton) – Treated Wood passed the floor of both houses and was sent to the Governor. CMTA supported both bills.

On the oppose position side, SB 248 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) – Oil & Gas/Water and SB 788 (Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg) – Coastal Protection/Oil Drilling, became two year bills which may be taken up in January and face shorter legislative deadlines than bills introduced in 2016. SB 654 (Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles) – Hazardous Waste Facility Permitting was amended with 24 new pages full of problems and then moved to the Inactive File within days. Likewise, SB 763 (Mark Leno, D-San Francisco) – Flame Retardant Labeling, was amended in the Assembly Appropriations Committee to eliminate the need to label juvenile products that did not contain flame retardants, but then later was also moved to the Inactive File.

CMTA was part of a large coalition in opposition to AB 888 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica) – a Plastic Microbead Ban. Recent research has found plastic microbeads used as an exfoliant in personal care products to have the potential of becoming persistent in an aquatic or marine environment. Although we could support a ban on traditional plastic microbeads, the author refused to accept multiple attempts at amendments to clarify that biodegradable alternatives would be allowable. We view AB 888 as a disincentive to innovation. Our member companies have spent a considerable amount of money researching biodegradable alternatives that are more biodegradable than some natural substitutes and were prepared to begin substitution next year.

After being amended by the author, the bill required that substitutes be put through an Alternatives Assessment similar to that proposed by the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Safer Consumer Products program. Cost (not to exceed $250,000) and timeliness were just some of the many problems with this change. The bill failed on two Senate Floor votes. It was amended the same afternoon and heard again on the Senate floor the next morning, this time garnering the required number of votes. It received concurrence on the Assembly Floor the following morning and is now on the Governor’s desk.

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