AB291 On Its Way to the CA Senate Floor

This is a quick update on AB291 (Wieckowski) and CORE’s efforts to extend AB1188, Ruskin’s 2009 statute adding 6/10ths of a cent/gallon fee to the UST Cleanup Fund.

On June 27, draft legislation AB291 passed its fourth hurdle, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee! The bill language extends the AB1188 6/10ths of a cent/gallon fee for two more years.

The next hurdle is the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing likely in August 2011. After the Senate Appropriations Committee, AB291 will go to the Senate Floor for approval. This step is crucial to the bill's success and will need a broad base of support from all stakeholders in the environmental community. When the date of the vote on the Floor is set, we will post instructions for showing support of the bill.

You can help now by donating to our efforts. Supporting a bill requires professional support, and that comes at a cost. We estimate the cost to be $75,000. So far, we have raised $30,000 which leaves a considerable gap to cover. Please consider joining CORE and supporting our efforts to keep UST cleanups funded and on track to closure. Go to our web site http://core.imh.deztech.com/ and click on the big red button to join.

BACKGROUND

With the sponsorship of CORE Environmental Reform, Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), Chair of the California Assembly’s Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, introduced AB291.  In late April 2011, CORE Director Bob ClarkRiddell testified in support of AB291 at this Committee’s hearing, and it was unanimously approved! This was the bill’s first hurdle! As AB291 takes shape we need your support in building momentum for its passage.  We are working to build support for AB291 because cleanups need cost-effective and efficient funding from investigation to closure.  CORE has been working closely with CSSARA (California Service Station and Automotive Repair Association) and CAEHA (California Association of Environmental Health Administrators).  We now have support from CIOMA (the California Independent Oil Marketers Association) since AB291 is double-joined to their sponsored bill AB358.  We have met with Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), Sierra Club and others.

In related legislation, bill AB358 (Smyth) is currently drafted to require that Local Implementing Agencies (LIA's) contract with the Water Board for their UST remediation oversight authority.  This will help streamline regulatory oversight and enable more regulatory enforcement for LIA sites.  Contact CORE to comment on these efforts.

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