California Farm Bureau Opposes Assembly Bills 1547 and 1001

The new legislative session kicked off this past week with two land use bills that will stifle development projects with additional requirements.

AB 1547 (Eloise Reyes, D-Los Angeles), a Farm Bureau opposed bill, has been recently amended following a hearing by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

The bill, as introduced last year, would authorize the Air Resources Board to regulate indirect emission sources, a role traditionally held by local air quality management and pollution control districts. The bill would also require a local government, before approving a warehouse development project, to ensure the project is at least 3,000 yards from a sensitive land use, consider all air quality impacts from incoming and outgoing trucks and require all onsite equipment (loaders, trucks, forklifts, belts, etc.) be electric.

The bill would also require much more significant public outreach to community residents beyond the current CEQA requirements, including the development of a “community benefits agreement” that identifies the project’s zero emission vehicle use, delivery and waste hauling protocols and private shuttle service. The bill also requires all construction work completed on the warehouse development project to be conducted be done by a “skilled and training workforce” or that a set percentage of jobs are offered to residents.

Farm Bureau has joined a coalition to oppose AB 1547 with concerns raised about the bill’s application to downstream food processing, distribution and storage facilities, and to on or off-farm coolers and packing sheds.

Farm Bureau opposes AB 1001 (Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens). This bill expands CEQA requirements to incorporate the issue of discriminatory land use policies. Specifically, the bill creates two new legal standards: (1) it forces all public agencies when complying with CEQA to “act consistently with the principles of environmental justice,” and (2) requires all air and water quality impacts be mitigated directly in the affected disadvantaged community. Both requirements are already incorporated in planning and zoning laws and CEQA requirements and present ambiguities, legal challenges and liabilities for lead agencies and project applicants.

A bill that would have established a climate bond, SB 45 (Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada), has been amended to respond to implementation of the state’s short- lived climate pollutant goals. Existing law requires cities and counties to divert 75% of their organic waste below 2014 levels by 2025. Regulations went into effect January 1st of this year and will be very challenging for local jurisdictions to meet. In response, SB 45 requires CalRecycle to provide additional budgetary assistance to cities and counties to meet this mandate.