BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1071 (Atkins) - Supplemental environmental projects.
          
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          |Version: August 18, 2015        |Policy Vote: E.Q. 7 - 0         |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: August 24, 2015   |Consultant: Marie Liu           |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 


          Bill  
          Summary:  This bill would require each of the boards,  
          departments, and offices (BDOs) of the California Environmental  
          Protection Agency (CalEPA) to establish a policy on the use of  
          supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) that benefit  
          disadvantaged communities that may be voluntarily undertaken to  
          offset a civil penalty.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           Unknown lost revenues, likely in the millions of dollars, to  
            various special funds as a result of penalty reductions as a  
            result of SEPs.
           Minor and absorbable costs to various special funds for the  
            BDOs to oversee SEPs.


          Background:  Under existing law, penalties for violations of environmental  
          laws can be partially offset by a commitment to undertake an  







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          SEP. Under CalEPA's recommended guidance on SEPs, released in  
          2003, SEPs must improve, protect, or reduce risks to public  
          health or the environment at large. The enforcing agency is  
          required to help shape the scope of the project prior to  
          approval, though the project must remain a voluntary action that  
          the defendant is not legally required to perform. There must  
          also be a relationship between the violation and the SEP. For  
          example, the SEP may remediate or reduce the environmental or  
          public health impacts of the violations. Various CalEPA BDOs  
          have adopted their own SEP policies since the release of the  
          CalEPA guidelines.


          Proposed Law:  
            This bill would require each of the BDOs within CalEPA to  
          adopt a policy on SEPs that include the following:
                 A public process to solicit potential SEPs from  
               disadvantaged communities


                 Allowance for the amount of SEP to be up to 50% of the  
               enforcement action


                 A consideration of the relationship between the location  
               of the violation and the location of the proposed SEP


                 An annual list of SEPs that may be used to settle a  
               portion of an enforcement actions. 


          This bill would require CalEPA to post a list of adopted SEPs on  
          its website.




          Staff  
          Comments:  CalEPA anticipates that the cost for its BDOs to  
          create the required policies or to amend an existing policy to  
          conform with the requirements of the bill is minor and  
          absorbable. 
          By requiring the establishment of a policy that allows up to 50%  








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          of an enforcement action to be satisfied by a SEP, this bill  
          will likely result in decreased penalty revenues to various  
          special funds in the millions of dollars. 


          The BDOs may also have some costs to oversee the additional SEPs  
          that are likely to be adopted by the creation of a SEP policy.  
          These costs are likely to be minor and absorbable or covered by  
          penalty settlement terms.




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