Protecting the Environment ~ and you

Of the 745 new California laws that begun at the start of the year, 16 are directed at environmental protection laws. If you are looking for a list of all California laws with all the legal-ese you can stand, there is a pdf available with links to the bills as they passed through congress, there amendments and the final enacted bill:

Admittedly, it’s taking me some time to read through each bill and decipher what is being said so it actually took me until July to complete!  As for the environmental laws, they range from ways for us to rid our waste to protecting sharks from being hunted only for their fins.

Here goes:


State Park Preservation: Funds

States that California state parks are a resource that must be protected fiscally.  This law is an intent of the legislature to enact legislation to address the need to fund parks.  Huh?  “An intent.”  Maybe the actual funding will be stated in a future law.


Hazardous Waste: Latex Paint

This law specifically states plans for disposing of latex paint at designated hazardous waste collection facilities.


Solid Waste: Diversion Plan

At present 50% of solid waste in California is required to be diverted through recycling or composting.  This new law states that by January 1, 2020, agencies designated to dispose of waste will be required to divert 75% of solid waste.  There are statements in this bill that also passes some of the responsibility on to business owners and requires them to also separate waste for recycling and composting.  Looking toward individuals being held responsible for also promoting diversion of their garbage.


Hazardous Substances: Underground Storage Tanks

Existing law requires the State Water Resources Control, in consultation with the State Department of Health Services, to develop guidelines for reviewing the cause and cleaning up methyl-tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) and other ether-based waste products in groundwater.  This law basically just changes the wording to “requiring” consultation with the State Department of Public Health (note the name change).


Shark fins: Possession

This law makes it illegal for any person to own, sell, trade, or distribute shark fins.  The reason for this is essentially two-fold.  The first reason is that sharks are important to the ocean eco-system and decline in numbers is being noted.  A second reason is that mercury is much higher in the shark population and can be dangerous to a consumer’s health.  There are an allotted number of licenses that permit fishing of shark, but limited and only individuals who have these permits may have possession of a shark or any part of one.


Environment:  Hazardous waste transportation

Specifies hazardous waste protocols specific to transportation of wastes and maintenance of records.


Air Pollution: Vehicle Pollution

Authorization is given to establish a fee up to $6 on registration of motor vehicles with the first $4 being used for specific purposes to meet requirements of the California Clean Air Act of 1988 and then the remaining $2 used for programs that remediate air pollution.  This bill determined that the last $2 be used for natural gas tanks on school buses that are over 15 years old; low emission vehicles or equipment aimed at decreasing emission reductions may also obtain funding by the program.


Air Pollution Districts: Members

This bill simply defines who belongs on the air pollution control governing board – essentially, mayors or city council members as well as county supervisors depending on the make up of the constituents.


Solid Waste: Tire Recycling

Revenue is generated from a fee (?amount) on every tire purchased in the state to provide funds for tire disposal.  Grants also are provided to fund public work projects using waste tires (ie. rubberized asphalt concrete and tire-derived aggregate).


Public Health: Medical Waste

Addresses disposal of a deceased animal if disease posing a threat to humans is thought to be the cause of the death.


Product Safety: Bisphenol A

After January 1, 2013, the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any child’s product at a level about 0.1 parts per billion of phthalates (Bisphenol A) will be prohibited and in its place is required the least toxic alternative.  How about a “non-toxic” alternative?


Forestry: Timber Harvesting

Amends forestry acts previously written and requires a timber harvesting plan be written in regards to logging plans and adequately restock the land.  The law also amends some of the definitions from prior acts.


Environmental Quality: Community Impact Report

Any project of statewide, regional, or area-wide significance requires an environmental impact report to define what effect it will have on a community.  The bill authorizes requirement of a proposed action plan.


Hazardous Waste: Household Collection and Transportation

Authorizes a door-to-door hazardous waste collection program from residences to collection facilities.  Establishes limits on household hazardous waste collection and transport amounts.


Contamination: Public Beach Standards

Health officers must submit to the State Water Resources Control Board information regarding public beach closures and post signage at the beach itself and to the web-site beaches not meeting standards for sanitation.  By June of this year, a plan is to be proposed to Legislature regarding options for sustainable funding to cover costs associated with monitoring wastewater.


Toxics: Lead and Cadmium Jewelry

A law in 2008 made the manufacture, shipping, selling, or offering jewelry for sale illegal unless from specified materials – specifically prohibiting lead and cadmium.  All this law does is amend the prior to specify the protocol for state inspectors evaluating potential jewelry concerns.