When California Assembly Bill 617 (AB 617) was signed into law, California ambitiously announced a new “community focused” strategy to improve air quality in California. AB 617’s stated goal is to improve air quality in environmental justice communities through local, community-specific strategies focused on the individual needs and issues particular to each community. The development and implementation of this “community focused” strategy is largely the responsibility of California’s local air quality management districts (AQMDs) because AB 617 places new, explicit responsibilities on AQMDs so that they take the lead in improving the air quality in their environmental justice communities. Continue Reading California’s AB 617 — “Community Focused”
This article was originally published in the May 1, 2017, online edition of The Recorder.
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Movie aficionados will recognize this classic line from the 1976 movie, “Network.” For many Californians, the line captures the feeling in the state just before Proposition 13 (Prop 13) was passed by about 65 percent of voters in 1978 to amend the state constitution. For a state that is used to sizable earthquakes, Prop 13 was a truly seismic event in California, restructuring the state property tax system. It was enacted in response to frustration over California’s decades-old method of paying for government, which allowed property taxes to increase dramatically year to year, often resulting in senior citizens on fixed incomes being unable to afford to stay in their homes. On top of cutting and restricting increases in property taxes, Prop 13 contained language requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases of any state tax rates or amounts of revenue collected, including income tax rates and sales tax rates.
In the latest of a series of moves reflecting the state’s intention to double down on its climate change agenda in the wake of President Trump’s inauguration, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently approved a new regulation aimed at curbing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. This measure, characterized by CARB as “the most comprehensive of its kind in the country,” comes on the heels of several actions recently announced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to reassess the climate change programs of the previous administration, specifically those targeted at oil and gas sector emissions.