Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

Environmental Compliance: Roundup of California 2012 Legislation

Posted by Lorraine O'Donovan on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 2012 California made small amendments to its existing environmental laws while passing new laws to implement climate change and energy-related initiatives. Most of these changes became effective on January 1, 2013, and focused, among other things, on the following priorities:

  • Specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • A wide range of energy sources and technologies (including solar energy, bio-derived fuels, and geothermal energy) as well as energy-related programs such as feed-in tariffs

  • Water quality, water supply and infrastructure, recycled water, and water conservation

  • The California Environmental Quality Act

  • Administration of the California Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act

  • “Advanced manufacturing processes” through financial assistance to eligible projects

  • Funding to the California Coastal Conservancy for climate change mitigation projects.

The Democrats’ November 2012 win of an unexpected but fragile supermajority in both houses of the California legislature gives them increased power to pursue environmental policy goals. They may be able to introduce ballot initiatives and pass laws to raise taxes without any Republican support but it will still be a major challenge to balance implementation of an environmental agenda with budget constraints and economic objectives. It is expected that additional reforms to advance environmental legislation will take place in 2013 and beyond.

A comprehensive review of California’s 2012 environmental legislation, detailing developments in the areas of climate change, energy, water quality, and solid waste, is available in the new report, Recapping Significant 2012 Environmental Legislation in California—The Calm Before the Storm, by Gary A. Lucks.

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Tags: California Legislation, Environmental