[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 20
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]


By Nick Cahill

SACRAMENTO – In the wake of a catastrophic wildfire that ripped through a foothill community during what’s normally the beginning of California’s rainy season, Toni Atkins wanted to be the first lawmaker to act.

One week after firefighters fully contained the deadly Camp Fire which left thousands homeless in Butte County, the state Senate Leader used the first day of the current legislative session to introduce what she and supporters call “Trump insurance for California’s environment.”

Aiming to protect California’s reputation for setting tough clean air and climate change laws in the face of lackluster federal standards, the West Virginia native is making environmental issues a focal point of the state Senate’s 2019-20 agenda.

Keeping to Atkins’ legislative outline, lawmakers on Wednesday advanced her bill that would deflect the Trump administration’s attempts to scale back environmental laws and require state agencies to abide by – at a minimum – the federal regulations that were in place under President Barack Obama.

Senate Bill 1 simply provides that whatever actions the new federal government may take, California will continue to enforce the same environmental and public health protections that have been in effect for years as a matter of state law,” Atkins told the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday.

Joined by Los Angeles-area state Sen. Henry Stern, Atkins testified that the main purpose of SB 1 is to ward against the deregulatory appetite of the Trump administration.

Atkins said that under Trump, federal agencies have collectively weakened over 30 standards for clean air, water and endangered species. She added Trump’s latest budget proposal calls for further cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would in essence prevent the agency from enforcing environmental protections that have yet to be gutted.

Under the proposal, state agencies would be required to assess federal rule changes and determine whether the changes are less stringent than baseline federal standards in place as of Jan. 19 2017. If so, the agencies would have to meet and consider adopting the 2017 standards.

The bill also has implications for California employers, as it bars state agencies from passing workers’ rights or safety rules that are weaker than federal standards in place as of January 2016. The measure would sunset as of January 20, 2025 – the latest possible date for the Trump administration to end.

“Beginning in 2017, a new presidential administration and United States Congress have signaled a series of direct challenges to these federal laws and the protections they provide,” the bill states. “It is therefore necessary for the Legislature to enact legislation that will ensure continued protections for the environment, natural resources and public health in the state even if the federal laws specified in subdivision (a) are undermined, amended or repealed.”

Environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club predictably backed the bill Wednesday, but business groups and Republicans sitting on the committee said it would create “regulatory uncertainty.”

The California Chamber of Commerce listed SB 1 on its annual “job killers” list before the bill even had a hearing.

“SB 1 is a job killer because the uncertainty created by the bill’s vague, ambiguous, and broad language and lack of due process in the rulemaking process would negatively impact the growth, employment, and investment decisions of almost every major California business. Due to costs and anticipated litigation associated with SB 1, companies doing business in the state would be hard pressed to hire more workers or expand California operations,” the chamber of commerce warns.

Republican state Sen. Patricia Bates is worried that the bill could “take power from the people” and give it to unelected state agencies.

Sen. Stern responded that the bill wouldn’t require mounds of regulations as it simply directs state agencies to revert back to the Obama-era standards.

“It’s a copy-and-paste job,” Stern responded to the opponents’ criticisms. “You’re not talking about an entirely new regulatory framework that’s emerging out of nowhere; you’re literally just putting the same thing that’s in the federal code of regulations into the California code.”

After 40 minutes of debate, the Democratic-led committee cleared the proposal 5-2, with Bates and a fellow Republican voting no. The measure will face three more Senate committees before a potential floor vote. A similar measure died in committee last year.

There is precedent for Atkins’ proposal: In 2003, the Legislature passed a measure that prohibited state air quality management districts from enacting laws that were less strict than federal clean air standards that existed in 2002. At the time, state Democrats and environmentalists were incensed over the Bush administration’s repeal of a portion of the Clean Air Act that required refineries and power plants to upgrade their facilities.

Atkins, 56, closed the committee hearing by saying that SB 1 is a particularly emotional proposal for her, as she grew up in West Virginia and saw the environmental devastation caused by the coal industry.

“I don’t want to lose one single bit of ground that we have gained,” Atkins said. “For all that we’ve been able to do in California, we still have the worst air quality of any place in the country and so we have work to do.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Oct 18, 2019
High Wind Watch Saturday Night to Sunday Morning
The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon issued a high wind watch for the Santa Clarita Valley from Saturday evening through Sunday morning.
Friday, Oct 18, 2019
Downed Power Lines Spark Small Fire, Power Outage in Newhall
Downed power lines in Newhall sparked a small fire and left more than 1,880 people without electricity, between Lyons Avenue and the southern edge of the Newhall Pass, Friday afternoon.
Friday, Oct 18, 2019
SCV Detectives Track Burglary Suspect to Bakersfield, Seize Guns, Drugs
Local sheriff’s detectives, investigating the break-in last month of a home in Stevenson Ranch, tracked their suspect to Bakersfield where they arrested one man, seizing guns and drugs in the operation.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]
Some people find the college financial aid process intimidating, if not overwhelming. But when it comes to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, the fear is misplaced.
Don’t Let Student Aid Filing Scare You | Commentary by Dr. Dianne Van Hook
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon issued a high wind watch for the Santa Clarita Valley from Saturday evening through Sunday morning.
High Wind Watch Saturday Night to Sunday Morning
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has published the agenda for their Tuesday, Oct. 22 meeting starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 22 Meeting Agenda – LA County Supervisors
The next regular meeting of the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Board of Directors is set for Monday, October 21, at 1 p.m.
Oct. 21: North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Regular Meeting
Tickets are now on sale for the Youth Project's 13th Annual Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em fundraising poker tournament, to be held at the Valencia Country Club on Saturday, November 2, starting at 5 p.m.
Nov. 2: Youth Project ‘Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em Poker Tourney
Author Michele Singer Evans will sign her new book "Island of Zarada: The Larimar Quest" at Barnes & Noble in Valencia on Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m., and the public is invited to join her.
Oct. 20: Michele Singer Evans Book Signing at Barnes & Noble
Construction has commenced at the new Orchard Medical Center on Orchard Village Road in Valencia, CBRE announced.
Walls Tilted Up for New Orchard Medical Center
Downed power lines in Newhall sparked a small fire and left more than 1,880 people without electricity, between Lyons Avenue and the southern edge of the Newhall Pass, Friday afternoon.
Downed Power Lines Spark Small Fire, Power Outage in Newhall
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored 16 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 46th Student Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills Thursday night.
AMPAS Honors Winners of 2019 Student Academy Awards
Local sheriff’s detectives, investigating the break-in last month of a home in Stevenson Ranch, tracked their suspect to Bakersfield where they arrested one man, seizing guns and drugs in the operation.
SCV Detectives Track Burglary Suspect to Bakersfield, Seize Guns, Drugs
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation’s William S. Hart Regional Park, in cooperation with the Friends of Hart Park, will present the Hart Bookstore & Collectors Flea Market at the Newhall park on Saturday, October 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oct. 26: Collectors’ Flea Market at Hart Park
A Val Verde citizens’ group that sued the county over its decision to grant Chiquita Canyon Landfill an operating permit saw its case dismissed in court.
Court Tosses Val Verde Group’s Lawsuit Over Chiquita Canyon Landfill
Emergency road work to repair a water-damaged stretch of Newhall Ranch Road wrapped up Thursday evening about 7:45, city of Santa Clarita spokesperson Carrie Lujan said Friday morning.
Newhall Ranch Road Reopened After Water Main Break, Repairs
Saugus Union School District officials discussed how they once again increased scores on the statewide assessment testing over the previous year, and also how to close achievement gaps found in certain students.
Saugus School District Sees Improvement in State Test Scores
California is expected to experience a drier than average winter, according to an outlook published by federal climate experts Thursday.
Feds Predict Warmer, Drier Winter 2019-2020 for California
Amid a revived legal challenge over the storage of nuclear waste and public doubts over the safety of the decommissioning process of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved demolition Thursday of the iconic Southern California nuclear power plant.
San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant OK’d for Demolition
Marking the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake and its devastation to buildings, bridges, freeways and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California officials on Thursday launched a long-awaited statewide warning system that will send cellphone alerts before earthquakes.
California Gets Earthquake Warning System 30 Years After Loma Prieta
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
Campton store
New Medicare Plan Finder tool helps you pick your Medicare plan online.
Pick Your Medicare Plan Online | Commentary by Greg Dill
David Kuck, who was hired as head coach by the Canyons Aquatic Club two years ago, is now suing the swim club for wrongful termination, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle on crimes implicating the late child sex crimes suspect Jeremy Anderson.
Former Coach Sues Canyons Aquatic for Wrongful Termination
Preliminary, university-wide data shared by California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy P. White indicated that four- and six-year graduation rates for first-time students and two- and four-year rates for community college transfer students continue to increase and have reached all-time highs.
Study Indicates Grad Rates for First-Time, Transfer Students at All-Time Highs
Lancaster Sheriff's Station detectives in collaboration with the Lancaster Appreciation Program (LANCAP) arrested 4 suspects for armed robbery.
Suspects in Alleged Robberies from Mojave to SCV Arrested
%d bloggers like this: