Food & Water – For your protection!
I’m continuing the saga of learning about all the new environmentally oriented laws that were enacted for 2012, just about in time for those that will be enacted in 2013! Because I am obsessive I had to complete the project…and now I am finally DONE! In the 745 new California laws taking effect or continuing this year, 9 are aimed at protecting your food and water supply.
Admittedly, it continues to take time to read through each of the actual bills and decipher what is being said, it really is taking me until the beginning of October to get through all of this!
If you want to refer to any of these bills in their entirety, anyone can access the PDF with links to the bills as they passed through Congress, including the amendments and the final enacted bill:
FOOD & WATER –>
Drinking Water: Insuring Safe Drinking Water
This bill is a long one with multiple components. The current California Safe Drinking Water Act requires the State Department of Public Health to administer provisions relating to the regulation of drinking water to protect public health and laws already exist to provide funds. Here comes the legalese of this bill. It does a few different things. First, it allows a public water system that is a lead applicant for a project to be funded by the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund and would make expenditures related to the project potentially reimbursable. Second, it authorizes the commission to review and decide on consolidation of territory in the jurisdiction of a mutual water company. Finally, it authorizes the commission to include in the service review, whether the drinking water sources comply with safe drinking water standards.
Food and Agriculture: Biotechnology
There is already a bill in place that regulates the Food and Agriculture fund programs. All this amendment does is eliminates the requirement of the Department of Food and Agriculture from being required to report issues to the Governor and the Legislature. Not sure the new oversight committee of these funds and programs is any longer, self-regulation?
Ocean Protection: Sustainable Seafood
Enacts a voluntary seafood promotion program to promote sustainable fishing industry practices, provide grants/loans for limited activities, and develop labeling standards for these sustainable fishing companies.
Safe Drinking Water: State Revolving Fund
Makes minor amendments to the already enacted California Safe Drinking Water Act, basically just addressing actions pertaining to the fund.
Groundwater: Groundwater Elevations
Establishes rules for the Department of Water Resources in terms of monitoring groundwater elevations within each basin or sub-basin and the well water management. Prevents counties from being eligible for water grant/loans administered by the state if they decline to accept responsibility for monitoring groundwater elevations (from unmonitored private wells included).
Drinking Water: Safety
The Calderon-Sher Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 requires the State Department of Public health to adopt regulations regarding contaminants in water potentially ingested by people. The new addition is that this law permits the department to issue citations if a public water system is in violation and defines the specifics.
Safe Drinking Water Funds: Revenue Bonds
Already in place is a bill where money is appropriated into the State Department of Health budget to design and construct projects for public water systems to assist in providing safe drinking water. This bill authorizes the bank to issue taxable or tax-exempt revenue bonds to provide funding.
Water Safety: Pollutant Discharge
Under current law, the State Water Resources Control Board and California Regional Water Quality Control board define waste discharge requirements in accordance with the Clean Water Act and Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act is a state act requiring any proposal to discharge pollutants or fill material to file a report at least 180 days in advance of the date on which it is desiring to discharge the materials. This bill only changes the date requirement by 5 days, to 185 days before.
Food Labeling: Olive Oil
Since I am particularly fond of olives, I found this one interesting. Currently, the State Department of Public Health enforces laws regarding manufacture, blending, production and sale of olive oil and any violation is a crime. This law pertains solely to the edible oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree. The hierarchy from highest to lowest: extra-virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, and virgin oil not fit for human consumption (lampante virgin olive oil), olive oil, and refined olive oil. These are all described in detail in the bill.
In 2013, I think I will pick and choose.