Saturday, 12 June 2021

State Lands Commission reviews strategic plan

SACRAMENTO – California State Controller Betty T. Yee on Tuesday chaired her first meeting of the State Lands Commission since the yearly hand-off of the gavel, immediately setting to work building on successes from the commission’s first-ever strategic plan.

Five years ago, Controller Yee led a stakeholder-driven process to adopt the 2016-2020 strategic plan, a historic first for the State Lands Commission, or SLC.

Ensuing efforts have reduced oil production in state waters and developed more collaborative working relationships with lessees and partner state agencies.

This year, under Yee’s leadership, SLC is reviewing that plan and delving into areas not fully considered five years ago.

In light of the state’s goal of reducing fossil fuel use, SLC will consider how to balance sustainable economic growth — including revenue generation for the state — with environmental protection of state lands through the lenses of equity, environmental justice, and climate change.

“Having a cohesive, stakeholder-driven plan allowed us to accomplish some positive changes over the last five years,” said Controller Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer. “In the months ahead, I look forward to leading a very public process to build on those successes, and to make improvements to the next strategic plan where our efforts identify the need.”

Addressing Tuesday’s special meeting of SLC were representatives of tribal governments, ports, utilities, environmentalists, and advocates for environmental justice and public access to state lands.

Kathryn Phillips of the Sierra Club encouraged SLC members to prioritize the strategic plan in terms of climate change, focusing on public health impacts.

Jennifer Savage of the Surfrider Foundation urged commissioners to actively defend California’s coastal resources from sea-level rise and future attempts at oil extraction, saying, “While California’s marine jurisdiction ends three miles out, your potential impact reaches so much further.”

Controller Yee expects to take input on the Commission’s 2021-2025 strategic plan at meetings through late 2020. Interested parties are encouraged to review the current strategic plan and join the discussion.

In 1938, SLC was created primarily as a resource trust manager for millions of acres of state lands, from the Klamath River in the north, to the Tijuana Estuary in the south, from three miles off the Pacific Coast in the west, to Lake Tahoe in the east includes California’s tidelands and major ports.

The state controller chairs SLC in even-numbered years. In odd-numbered years, the lieutenant governor is chair.

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