SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) has introduced Assembly Bill 552, legislation to protect California’s coast in the face of sea level rise and other climate change impacts. The bill will fund climate adaptation projects in California’s coastal zone by creating the Coastal Adaptation, Access, and Resilience Program (CAARP).
“Coastal communities are already starting to experience the effects of climate change and we know that this is just the beginning of what we’ll be seeing in the coming years,” said Assemblymember Stone. “Investing in adaptation measures represents a commonsense way for the state to protect vulnerable habitat, property, and infrastructure.”
AB 552 will require that at least 30% of the state’s annual Tidelands Oil Revenues are directed for adaptation and resilience. For the three most recent years, Tidelands Oil Revenue from oil, gas, and mineral extraction activities on state-owned tidelands averaged $87.2 million annually. Additionally, since Tidelands oil extraction increases global greenhouse emissions, there is a clear nexus between the revenue source and the climate-related impacts that California’s coastal communities need to start preparing for.
“Sea-level rise and ocean acidification pose a growing threat to the state’s natural resources, plants and animals, and coastal communities,” said Mike Lynes, the Policy Director at Audubon California, a sponsor of the bill. Lynes continued, “We understand the immediate need to invest in activities that will help the state prepare for and adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change and we are proud to sponsor AB 552.”
Each year California’s ocean economy generates approximately $44 billion through recreation, tourism, maritime transportation, and other industries. The coastal zone is also home to millions of people and a number of vulnerable ecosystems that are threatened by sea level rise and increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
If signed into law, the bill will require that adaptation efforts it supports are informed by the latest science. Additionally, the funds will be distributed through the annual budget process to state entities working on coastal issues including the Coastal Commission, the Natural Resources Agency, the Ocean Protection Council, and the State Coastal Conservancy.
AB 552 has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources.