2017 Legislative Update
Clean Water Action's priority bills this year ran the gamut from requiring more transparency by the oil and gas industry to protecting the human right to water, and protecting drinking water from toxic chemicals in food packaging:
AB 1328 (Limon). This bill would require oil companies to disclose chemicals and additives used in oil production activities such as enhanced oil recovery, drilling, and well maintenance that discharges wastewater to land, i.e. disposal in open pits, crop irrigation. This is critical because if it's not known what chemicals are in wastewater, it's not possible to properly manage its disposal or reuse to reduce adverse environmental and public health impacts. This bill passed the Assembly in June, then the senate, and is headed to the Governor's desk for signature.
SB 623 (Monning) will create the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. This Fund is intended to fill funding gaps that leave small and low-income communities unable to provide safe drinking water to their customers. Those costs include providing emergency drinking water when local water supplies are contaminated; helping small low-income communities maintain and operate expensive new water treatment systems; and assisting low-income residents who need help upgrading septic systems and domestic wells. This bill cleared the Senate in June and passed out of its policy and fiscal committees, but has not yet been sent to the floor. Our advocacy on this bill will continue in January 2018.
SB 252 (Dodd) requires that those seeking to drill new wells in the state’s severely overdrafted groundwater basins provide information to the county and the state about the impact of the well and notify near neighbors of their plans. This bill passed the legislature and is awaiting the Governor's signature.
AB 958 (Ting/Quirk): This 2-year bill will require the Department of Toxic Substances Control to create regulations that will ultimately eradicate perfluorinated chemicals (PFASs) in food packaging. PFASs are common in paper and other wrappings meant to prevent leakage of grease and liquids from food. They are highly toxic, being linked to cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease and other serious health impacts, and can leach into food and beverages, and ultimately our bodies. They also migrate into water when food packaging trash ends up there, and work up the food chain. Click here to take a look at the fact sheet for this bill.
SB 705 (Allen): SB 705 would prohibit food providers such as restaurants, groceries, and food trucks from dispensing food in disposable food containers made of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam®), which leaches a recognized carcinogen (styrene) into food and beverages. In addition, once stained with food, the containers are fundamentally unrecyclable and break down into small pieces that clog storm drains and enter the marine environment, threatening the food chain and creating cleanup costs of over $1 billion for taxpayers. Currently 99 local jurisdictions have enacted restrictions on or banned the use of non-recyclable packaging in California. This bill failed to get the votes it needed in the first vote, and so, rather than push the issue this year, Senator Allen decided to hold it back for next year as a "two-year bill".
SB 258 (Lara): Many cleaning products contain chemicals that are linked to serious health impacts such as cancer, respiratory illness, rashes, and reproductive harm. However, they often don’t appear on the label, preventing consumers from making the best possible choices for their families. This “Right to Know” bill will require that ingredients in cleaning products be disclosed to the public on the label and website. There are also worker safety provisions in the bill for those who are exposed to cleaning products on the job. You can find out more by downloading the this: legislative factsheet