On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, the California Legislature passed two landmark environmental reforms. The Legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores (Senate Bill 270). This marks the seventh attempt by environmentalists to pass a statewide bag ban.
The bans have received a groundswell of support at the local level—with approximately 90 local bag bans in place—but an aggressive plastics lobby thwarted the statewide ban until now. A diverse coalition of allies have been advocating for the passage of this landmark legislation for years. California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) urges the Governor’s signature of the bill, and supports other source control measures, as well as the parallel development of the State Water Board’s Trash Policy.
The Legislature also passed three groundwater reform bills (Assembly Bill 1739, Senate Bill 1168, and Senate Bill 1319) to establish a framework for more sustainable groundwater management in California. California has very few groundwater regulations compared to the rest of the nation, and is the only state that manages groundwater separately from surface water.
The three bills provide a framework for communities to develop groundwater sustainability plans, and requires local water districts with critically overdrawn basins to meet groundwater management goals by 2020. California Coastkeeper Alliance worked with a dedicated coalition, including Klamath Riverkeeper, environmental justice organizations, and tribes, to ensure that the groundwater reforms are enforceable by state agencies. During one of the worst droughts in recorded history, CCKA urges the Governor to support and implement reforms to improve California’s groundwater management. Follow @GroundwaterCA for updates on these bills.