BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 300


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          Date of Hearing:  April 22, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          300 (Alejo) - As Amended April 7, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:   


          SUMMARY:


          This bill requires the State Water Resources Control Board  
          (SWRCB) to establish and coordinate the Algal Bloom Task Force  
          to review the risks and negative impacts of toxic algal blooms  
          and make recommendations on funding, prevention and long-term  








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          mitigation by January 1, 2017. 


          The task force includes representatives from the Department of  
          Public Health (DPH), the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW),  
          the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the State Coastal  
          Conservancy (SCC) and any other relevant agency representatives.


          This bill also authorizes SCC, DFW and the Wildlife Conservation  
          Board (WCB) and SWRCB to enter into contracts and provide grants  
          from Chapter 6, of Proposition 1, approved by the voters on the  
          November 2014 ballot.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)Unknown cost pressures potentially in the millions of dollars  
            to implement the task force recommendations.


          2)Increased ongoing administrative costs in the range of  
            $200,000 for SWRCB to convene the task force, conduct research  
            and public outreach, and finalize recommendations (GF or  
            special fund). One-time costs in the $150,000 range to meet  
            the reporting requirements.


          3)Increased administrative costs for DFW to participate in the  
            task force.


          4)Minor, absorbable costs for DPH, SCC, and CDFA.


          5)Unknown, likely minor, costs for any other agencies included  
            on the task force.









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          COMMENTS:


          1)Rationale.  The majority of freshwater harmful algal blooms  
            (HABs) reported in the United States and worldwide are due to  
            one group of algae, cyanobacteria.  Cyanobacteria are  
            widespread bacteria that are capable of forming toxic blooms  
            and super-blooms in the States' waters.


            Cyanobacteria produce potent hepatoxins and neurotoxins,  
            collectively referred to as cyanotoxins.  Cyanotoxins are  
            poisonous to humans, pets, livestock, birds, and other  
            wildlife via ingestion, inhalation, or skin exposure. A single  
            dose can cause prolonged toxicity by cycling repeatedly  
            between the liver and intestines





            According to the author, the state's waters are especially  
            prone to toxic cyanobacterial blooms due to our warm climate,  
            numerous water diversions, and stressed waterways. Blooms of  
            toxic cyanobacteria are threatening our water supply and  
            health throughout the state. 


            This bill provides a coordinated multiagency effort to develop  
            actions and projects to prevent or mitigate toxic blooms and  
            the associated cynotoxin pollution.


          2)CyanoHAB Network (CCHAB).  CCHAB, formally known as the  
            statewide Blue Green Algae Public Working Group, has a diverse  
            membership including the SWRCB, regional water quality boards,  
            Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, DFW, DPH,  
            and the Department of Water Resources.  It also includes  








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            federal agencies, tribal governments, county agencies, cities,  
            academics, researchers, and utilities.  CCHAB has conducted  
            investigations, supported research, and funded planning and  
            pilot projects to address HABs. 


            This bill allows the SWRCB to augment this or any other  
            existing task force or network to accomplish the requirements  
            of the bill.


          3)Other Considerations.  The recently passed water bond includes  
            funds to protect rivers lakes, stream, coastal waters and  
            watersheds (Chapter 6).  Of the $1.495 billion available, all  
            but about $500 million is designated for specific agencies and  
            purposes.  The remaining $500 million is available, upon  
            appropriation by the Legislature, for competitive grants for  
            multibenefit ecosystems and watershed protection and  
            restoration projects as specified.


            Until the task force completes its work and makes its  
            recommendations, it is unclear if this funding source is  
            appropriate. In the past, work on HABs has been funded through  
            the SWRCB's Cleanup and Abatement Fund, the Sea Otter Fund and  
            the Ocean Protection Trust Fund.   


            The author may wish to consider amending this provision to  
            expand potential funding sources and clarify that funds are  
            available only upon appropriation by the Legislature.


            It should also be noted that the task force exists beyond the  
            final reporting date.  In order to reduce ongoing costs, the  
            author may wish to consider including a sunset date.


                    








                                                                     AB 300


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          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081