SACRAMENTO – The California State Senate voted today to approve the Preserve California legislative package, which insulates the state from dangerous rollbacks in federal environmental regulations and public health protections, shields public lands from exploitation, and protects whistleblowers and public scientific data.
“We won’t allow Californians to suffer the consequences of Donald Trump’s reckless slash-and-burn approach to the environment,” California Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said. “These measures safeguard public health and ensure we continue to make policy based on the best available science, not ‘alternative facts’ or polluter propaganda.”
Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills) said, “This is pretty straightforward - just common sense measures to preserve minimum safeguards for clean air and water,” Senator Henry Stern said. “We still have a ways to go to clean up our environment, but at the very least we should not be backsliding.”
Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), author of the Public Lands Protection Act said, “Today the state Senate made a strong statement that our national parks and national monuments are not for sale. With the passage of this legislation, California will have the power to block the sale or lease of these public treasures.”
“With science and scientific data under threat, SB 51 will protect whistleblowers who stand up for the public’s interest, and keep them from having their professional credentials stripped away if they are licensed in California,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). “It will also ensure that climate change and other scientific data so critical to our future remains intact and accessible to scientists for years to come.”
“Californians value strong environmental stewardship and this package of bills safeguards our public lands, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the workers who protect all three,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “These baseline protections will help shield us from the reckless rollbacks proposed by the administration in Washington.”
Jennifer Fearing, who represents the Humane Society of the United States and Defenders of Wildlife said, “The livable communities we want for Californians - communities with clean air for people to breathe and clean water for us to drink - cannot be achieved with an exclusively human-centric approach that ignores the role that other species play. SB 49 sends a strong, clear message to Washington and to our fellow Californians: We will not allow the weakening of protections necessary for the well-being of California's wild species, ecosystem, ourselves and future generations."
“Strong environmental protections are at the heart of California’s way of life and our state’s economy that is so reliant on tourism and clean technology. Senate Bill 49 and the entire Preserve California legislative package will provide critical safeguards to our clear air and clean water laws in the face of weakened federal regulations from the Trump Administration.” said Terry Tamminen, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Ann Nothoff, Director of California advocacy for NRDC said, “California isn’t about to let the Trump administration hand over our greatest assets for exploitation and sale. We value the amazing natural resources we have in this state and refuse to let the Trump administration put corporate interests and profits ahead of the rights and health of everyday Americans. Thank goodness we live in a state that is willing to stand up for its people and the beautiful, irreplaceable places that make California so great.”
Cindy Clark, Senior Water Director at Sustainable Silicon Valley said, “Innovators within the California Clean Energy Economy value policy certainty and SB 49 does just that, ensuring our bedrock accords on clean air, clean water and sustainable habitats are not threatened by imprudent partisan rollbacks.”
Sara Aminzadeh, Executive Director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance said, "We’re proud to see our Legislature take action to resist short-sighted attempts to undermine safeguards that protect our economy and communities.”
- Makes current federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state law, even if the federal government rolls back and weakens those standards.
- Directs state environmental, public health, and worker safety agencies to take all actions within their authorities to ensure standards in effect and being enforced as of January 2017 remain in effect.
- Establishes a new state policy to discourage conveyances of federal lands to private developers for resource extraction and directs the State Lands Commission, which oversees much of the federal lands in the state, to establish a right of first refusal by the state of any federal lands proposed for sale or conveyance to other parties.
- Ensures (a) that the state reviews any transactions involving federal lands in California to ensure those lands are protected, and (b) where feasible, important lands are protected via state action.
- Attorneys, engineers, scientists and other professionals working for federal agencies are often licensed to practice in California. US EPA attorneys and scientists who report cover ups, destruction of information, or other wrongdoing may have federal whistleblower protection but could still lose their professional certifications under California law.
- This measure would ensure federal employees do not lose state licensure for revealing violations of law, unethical actions or dangers to public health and safety. It also would direct state environmental and public health agencies to protect any information or data under state law, even if parties in Washington DC order their censorship or destruction.