Salmon fishermen joined environmentalists and other public trust advocates in praising the introduction of SB 49, the California Environmental Defense Act, in the California State Senate on February 23.
The Senate leadership unveiled SB 49 as part of the Preserve California legislative package “to insulate the state from dangerous rollbacks in federal environmental regulations and public health protections” proposed by the Donald Trump administration and Congress.
SB 49, authored by Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills, does the following:
- Makes current federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state law, even if the federal government rolls back and weakens those standards.
- Directs state environmental, public health, and worker safety agencies to take all actions within their authorities to ensure standards in effect and being enforced today continue to remain in effect.
- Federal laws in these areas set “baselines,” but allow states to adopt more stringent standards. This bill simply ensures CA does not backslide as a result of rollbacks and damage done by the new regime in Washington DC.
- In 2003, when the Bush Administration attempted to enact similar rollbacks of federal clean air standards, the Legislature passed SB 288 (Chapter 476 statutes of 2003), the Protect CA Air Act. This measure builds on that platform.