SACRAMENTO, CA - The Senate Water and Natural Resources Committee approved Assembly Bill 552 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) by a vote of 7 – 2. The measure will provide funding for planning and implementation of climate adaptation projects in California’s coastal zone.
“We need to find a way to fund climate resilience projects and AB 552 will allow California to start preparing for sea level rise and other climate-related impacts,” said Stone. He added, “I’m also encouraged to see that a bipartisan group of my colleagues have joined me in co-authoring this important measure to protect our coast for future generations.”
If signed into law, the bill would direct 30% of the revenues from oil extraction in state-owned tidelands toward climate adaptation and planning. While tidelands oil revenue used to go toward natural resource and wildlife protection efforts, since 2006, budget pressures led to all revenues being directed into the state’s general fund. Assemblymember Stone’s bill would put 30% toward resilience and adaptation (about $26.15 million annually given the average revenues over the 3 most recent years), while still leaving the majority of the tidelands oil revenues for the state general fund.
According to Mike Lynes, Policy Director at Audubon California, “The bill is critical to address the severe lack of continuous funding for natural resources protection in the state and would secure ongoing funding for coastal climate adaptation projects”.
AB 552 is supported by environmental organizations, local governments, and the California Coastal Commission. Additionally, amendments to the bill adopted in the Senate Water and Natural Resources Committee will ensure that priority is given to projects that minimize the financial risks that climate change poses to the state.
The measure will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee where its fiscal impacts on the state will be considered.