California Legislature Passes Major Reforms on Groundwater & Trash

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), the first statewide ban in the nation. 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. 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.  CCKA 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.

The coastal water quality and sustainable water reforms that CCKA sponsored are also awaiting the Governor’s signature. If the bills become law, SB 1036 will require a methodology for calculating the amount of energy used to manage water supplies, and SB 1395 will allow a faster method for determining whether it is safe to swim at your local beach. 

Blue Businesses Unite for Clean Water

California boasts 1,100 miles of coastline, 215,000 miles of rivers and 3 million acres of lakes, bays, estuaries and wetlands. This natural capital sustains the world’s 9th largest economy, and a thriving tourism and recreation industry. California’s blue economy is a study of contrasts. It has the nation’s most productive manufacturing and agriculture industries. Its stunning coastlines and rushing rivers make it the nation’s top tourism destination. And yet the state is suffering from drought and declining water quality.

California Coastkeeper Alliance and California Waterkeeper organizations are launching a new network of businesses to protect California’s most vital and threatened natural capital—the coast, ocean, bays, rivers, and streams that power the economy. The Blue Business Council officially launches with founding members Patagonia, New Belgium Brewing Company, Clif Bar, Channel Islands Outfitters, Pura Vida Bracelets, Shelter Co., Santa Barbara Adventure Company, Poseidon Vineyard, Hotel Healdsburg, and h2hotel. In the coming year, Council members will engage their customers and employees on the droughttrash pollution and polluted runoff

Council members are commemorating the Council launch by celebrating waters that are clean and safe for swimming, surfing, paddling, fishing, wading, and splashing. Join the celebration and the photo contest by sharing images on Instagram and Twitter with #swimmableCA.

Visit the Blue Business Council website.

Read the Blue Business Council Launch Press Statement.

Learn more.

View Archive

Spotlight On

  • Ocean Protection Council Supports the Trash Policy

    undefinedCongrats to the Ocean Protection Council for passing a Resolution supporting the State Water Board’s Trash Policy.  The Resolution describes the Trash Policy as precedential, and finding it the “first statewide plan in the nation” to reduce trash entering waterways. California Coastkeeper Alliance strongly supported this Resolution, and we are happy to see it come to fruition at a pivotal time in California’s decision making about preventing trash pollution.
    Learn more.

  • SB Channelkeeper Wins Agreement to Protect Ventura River

    A hard fought agreement with Ojai Quarry will protect drinking water and endangered steelhead trout in Matilija Creek, a pristine tributary of the Ventura River. This important victory was spearheaded by our Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, whose monitoring efforts showed Matilija Creek was receiving high levels of pollution, and led directly to action.

    Learn more.

  • Russian Riverkeeper Encourages Residents to #Saveit

    In the face of dire drought our Russian Riverkeeper is doubling down on efforts to encourage residents to conserve water. As many water conservation targets have fallen short, this outreach is needed now more than ever. Check out Russian Riverkeeper’s water conservation tips here, and be sure to follow on twitter.

    Learn More.