On World Water Day, March 22, the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials passed three bills that aim to protect the state’s water sources and access, according to a press release from Assemblymember Robert Rivas.
The first piece of legislation, Assembly Bill 2106, would modernize the state’s permitting system for the treatment of stormwater—the most significant source of water pollution in California today, says the press release.
Assembly Bill 2108 improves representation of tribal and disadvantaged communities on the State and Regional Water Boards and better incorporates environmental justice considerations into major water permits.
Finally, Assembly Bill 2113 sends fines paid by violators of water quality standards back to the impacted communities, instead of funding state government bureaucracy.
Together, the three bills are known as the “Clean Water for All” legislation, and are co-sponsored by Rivas and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia.
“As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we must recognize that California has done a great job at preventing water pollution in affluent areas, but we still have a long way to go in our low-income communities of color,” said Rivas (D-Salinas). “This legislation will ensure everyone, regardless of zip code or income level, has access to clean water.”
Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said she is “proud” to work with Rivas on the package of water bills.
“This package will ensure that 50 years after the enactment of the Clean Water Act, your zip code will no longer determine whether or not you have access to clean and affordable water,” Garcia said. “In my district, the San Gabriel River and the Los Angeles River remain unsafe with a toxic cocktail of copper, cadmium, zinc, lead, oil, dangerous bacteria, and trash. The rivers are one of the few areas of open space and many of my constituents will benefit from this package of bills.”
AB 2106 and AB 2113 next head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee while AB 2108 will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife next, says the press release.