Saturday, 23 September 2023

Wiggins, Berg score 100-percent pro-environment rating on green scorecard

SACRAMENTO – North Coast State Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) and Assembly member Patty Berg (D-Eureka) have earned perfect 100-percent scores from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) for her votes on environmental legislation in 2008.

Wiggins was one of only nine state senators (out of 40) achieving a perfect score on CLCV's annual legislative scorecard, while Berg was one of 19 of the 80 Assembly members to reach the 100-percent mark.

Average scores were 61 percent in the Senate and 61 percent in the 80-member Assembly. She also earned a 100 percent CLCV score in 2007, her first year as a senator.

“Now more than ever, California faces monumental challenges to safeguard our clean drinking water, healthy air and precious natural resources,” Wiggins said. “This is especially true for my North Coast district, where working families are dependent on the jobs that come from a sustainably-managed environment.”

The annual California Environmental Scorecard is published by CLCV, the political arm of the state’s environmental movement. The group says the scorecard tallies the year’s most important environmental votes to help Californians determine how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and members of the state legislature perform on the environment.

This year’s ratings were based on lawmakers’ votes on 24 bills selected by a coalition of California environmental groups. Fifteen of the measures were approved by both houses of the Legislature and sent to the desk of Gov. Schwarzenegger. And of those 15, Schwarzenegger signed nine – earning him a score of 60 percent, a drop from his 2007 score of 63 percent.

Wiggins, who represents parts or all of six counties – Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma – is nearing completion of her second year in the Senate. As chair of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, she considers environmental protection one of her top priorities.

She introduced nearly a dozen environmental bills in 2008. Of those, eight were approved by the Legislature and only two were vetoed by the Governor. A brief description of the bills follows.

SB 562: Salmon Restoration Funding

Allocates nearly $5.3 million in Proposition 84 funds to the state Department of Fish and Game for coastal salmon and steelhead fisheries restoration and puts the funding into better oversight to ensure the money goes toward priority needs. Prop. 84 (the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act) was approved by California voters in 2006. Gov. Schwarzenegger signed this bill into law in April, a move which also enables the state to leverage up to $20 million in federal funds for salmon this year.

SB 1016: Landfill Disposal

Requires cities and counties to measure the amount of waste that is actually deposited in a landfill as opposed to the amount that they could supposedly divert. Will give the California Integrated Waste Management Board a more accurate and timely portrayal of how cities and counties meet the 50% diversion requirement. Signed by the governor.

SB 1431: State Park Easements

Clarifies that the state Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) can use conservation easements to protect and preserve state park lands, and enable DPR to make grants to state or local government agencies, or nonprofits, to purchase and hold conservation easements for protection and preservation. Signed by the governor.

SB 1557: Smart Growth Planning

This bill would have added a provision to the State’s Smart Growth planning priorities that seeks to address green house gas emissions. It would strengthen state law with regard to land use by updating Assembly Bill 857, a landmark piece of legislation (signed into law in 2002) to address state practices re: land use. Unfortunately, the provisions of AB 857 have largely been ignored, making SB 1557 necessary. Vetoed by the governor.

SB 1627: Marine Spills – Accountability of Board of Pilot Commissioners

This bill places the Board of Pilot Commissioners (Board) under the jurisdiction of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the purpose of ensuring appropriate oversight, accountability, and transparency of the Board. The Board should be as robust as possible to make certain pilots are properly trained and licensed, so that environmentally devastating accidents, such as the Cosco Busan incident, are minimized or, prevented. Signed by the governor.

SB 1645: Energy Design Element

This bill would have required the Energy Commission to update its Energy Aware Planning Guide, and require the Commission to work with the state to develop climate change and energy models for local government general plans. Vetoed by the governor.

SB 1690: Crab Fisheries Task Force

This bill will create an industry advisory group for California crab fishermen, which will ultimately develop recommendations for a sustainable crab fishery. Signed by the governor.

SCR 113: Emanuel Fritz Forest Ecosystem Research Area

This measure would designate the "Wonder Plot" in the lower Big River watershed as the “Emanuel Fritz Forest Ecosystem Research Area.” This is now law.

Wiggins had more bills signed into law this year than any other California state senator. Out of Wiggins’ 24 bills that were sent to the governor’s desk this year, 17 bills were signed; seven were vetoed.

Berg had 10 bills signed and two vetoed. None of the bills she introduced were specifically targeted at the environment.


Upcoming Calendar

09.23.2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
California Coastal Cleanup Day
09.23.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lakeport Splash-In at Clear Lake
09.23.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
09.23.2023 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Passion Play fundraiser
09.24.2023 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Acme Foundation 25th anniversary celebration
09.26.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
09.27.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Town hall on homelessness
09.28.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

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