BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2616


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          Date of Hearing:  April 18, 2016


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES


                                 Das Williams, Chair


          AB 2616  
          (Burke) - As Introduced April 12, 2016


          SUBJECT:  California Coastal Commission:  membership:   
          environmental justice


          SUMMARY:  Increases the Coastal Commission (Commission)  
          membership by three members who are required to work directly  
          with communities in the state that are most burdened by, and  
          vulnerable to, high levels of pollution and issues of  
          environmental justice.  Allows the Commission to address  
          affordable housing and environmental justice concerns.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Pursuant to the Coastal Act, 
             a)   Establishes the Commission in the Natural Resources  
               Agency and requires the Commission to consist of 15 members  
               (3 non-voting and 12 voting).

             b)   Requires the membership of the Commission include six  
               members of the public at large and six from local  
               governments representatives from six coastal regions.

             c)   Provides that the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly,  
               and Senate Rules Committee each appoint four of the  








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               members.

             d)   Requires the Governor, the Senate Committee on Rules,  
               and the Speaker of the Assembly to make good faith efforts  
               to assure that their appointments, as a whole, reflect, to  
               the greatest extent feasible, the economic, social, and  
               geographic diversity of the state.
             
             e)   Requires a person planning to perform or undertake any  
               development in the coastal zone to obtain a coastal  
               development permit (CDP) from the Commission or local  
               government enforcing a Local Coastal Program (LCP).

             f)   Defines "development" to mean, among other things, the  
               placement or erection of any solid material or structure on  
               land or in water.  "Structure" includes, but is not limited  
               to, any building, road, pipe, flume, conduit, siphon,  
               aqueduct, telephone line, and electrical power transmission  
               and distribution line.

             g)   Defines the "coastal zone" as the land and water area of  
               the State of California from the Oregon border to the  
               border of the Republic of Mexico, extending seaward to the  
               state's outer limit of jurisdiction, including all offshore  
               islands, and extending inland generally 1,000 yards from  
               the mean high tide line of the sea.  In significant coastal  
               estuarine, habitat, and recreational areas, the coastal  
               zone extends inland to the first major ridgeline  
               paralleling the sea or five miles from the mean high tide  
               line of the sea, whichever is less.  In developed urban  
               areas, the zone generally extends inland less than 1,000  
               yards.  The coastal zone does not include the area of  
               jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and  
               Development Commission, nor any area contiguous thereto,  
               including any river, stream, tributary, creek, or flood  
               control or drainage channel flowing into such area.

             h)   Requires lower cost visitor and recreational facilities  
               to be protected, encouraged, and, where feasible, provided.  








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                Declares a preference for developments providing public  
               recreational opportunities.

             i)   Prohibits LCP's from being required to include housing  
               polies and programs.

          2)Defines "environmental justice" to mean the fair treatment of  
            people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the  
            development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of  
            environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

          THIS BILL:


          1)Requires that housing opportunities for persons of low and  
            moderate income to be protected, encouraged, and, where  
            feasible, provided.


          2)Adds three members to the Commission who are required to work  
            directly with communities in the state that are most burdened  
            by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution and issues of  
            environmental justice. Specifies that the Governor, the  
            Speaker of the Assembly, and Senate Rules Committee will each  
            appoint one of these new members.


          3)Eliminates prohibition on requiring housing polies and  
            programs in LCPs.


          4)Allows the Commission to consider environmental justice when  
            acting on a CDP.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  








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          1)Author's statement:


               When the Coastal Act was originally passed it included  
               broad policy language requiring the provision of  
               affordable housing in the coastal zone for persons of  
               low and moderate income. From 1976 to 1981 under this  
               authority the Commission developed guidelines which  
               stated, "Meaningful access to the coast requires  
               housing opportunities as well as other forms of  
               coastal access? If the coast is not to exclude the  
               less affluent members of society and become an  
               exclusive enclave of the wealthy, affordable housing  
               must be protected, encouraged, and, where feasible,  
               provided." As a result, between 1976 and 1981 the  
               Commission approved approximately 5,000 affordable  
               units with about two-thirds of them located in  
               Southern California. 





               In the years after the Coastal Act was adopted there  
               were multiple attempts to undermine the Commission's  
               authority over affordable housing. Unfortunately, in  
               1981, Senate Bill 626 (Ch. 1007, Statutes of 1981) by  
               Senator Henry Mello repealed the Commission's  
               statutory authority to protect and provide affordable  
               housing for persons of low and moderate income in the  
               coastal zone. As a result of the repeal, only about  
               1,000 affordable units were built, instead of the  
               5,000 that were initially approved by the Commission.  
               This bill restores that authority that the Commission  
               initially was able to use. 










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               The additional three Commissioners that represent  
               diverse racial and ethnic populations and low-income  
               communities will help ensure that the California  
               Coastal Commission effectively addresses the needs and  
               perspectives of all of California's diverse residents.  
               The bill will also give the Commission the authority  
               to be an effective voice for these communities by  
               allowing the consideration of environmental justice  
               issues in a decision before the Commission. 





          2)Coastal Commission.  The Commission was established by  
            voter initiative in 1972 (Proposition 20) and later made  
            permanent by the Legislature through adoption of the  
            California Coastal Act of 1976.  In partnership with  
            coastal cities and counties, the Commission plans and  
            regulates the use of land and water in the coastal zone.  
            Development activities, which are broadly defined by the  
            Coastal Act to include construction of buildings,  
            divisions of land, and activities that change the  
            intensity of use of land or public access to coastal  
            waters, generally require a CDP from either the  
            Commission or the local government with a certified LCP.
            


            The Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial state  
            agency.  The Commission's mission statement is: 













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               The Commission is committed to protecting and  
               enhancing California's coast and ocean for present and  
               future generations. It does so through careful  
               planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable  
               development, rigorous use of science, strong public  
               participation, education, and effective  
               intergovernmental coordination. 





          3)Environmental justice.  According to the Office of  
            Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, approximately 8  
            million Californians (21%) live in zip codes that are
            considered "highly impacted" by environmental, public health,  
          and socioeconomic stressors.
            Nearly half of all Californians live within six miles of a  
          facility that is a significant
            greenhouse gas emitter (46%), and they are disproportionately  
            people of color (62%).  Throughout California, people of color  
            face a 50% higher risk of cancer
            from ambient concentrations of air pollutants listed under the  
          Clean Air Act.  These impacts
            are felt by all Californians.  The Air Resources Board (ARB)  
          estimates that air pollution 
            exposure accounts for 19,000 premature deaths, 280,000 cases  
          of asthma, and 1.9 million lost 
            work days every year.



          4)This bill.  This bill contains several provisions to empower  
            the Commission to protect affordable housing and consider  
            environmental justice impacts when acting on CDPs and LCPs.   
            These changes are consistent with the Commission's other  
            requirements to improve public access and protect low cost  
            visitor serving facilities on the coast.  This bill also adds  
            three members to the Commission who are required to work  








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            directly with communities in the state that are most burdened  
            by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution and issues of  
            environmental justice.  Each appointing authority would have  
            one of these appointments. Currently, the Commission voting  
            members are evenly divided between local governments and  
            public at large members.  This bill would upset that balance  
            by adding three additional at large members who have expertise  
            with issues of environmental justice. Shifting the balance may  
            reduce representation from regions of the coast.  Each  
            appointing authority already has four appointments.  The  
            Governor, Speaker, and Senate Rules Committee could use their  
            existing appointment authority to appoint members with  
            expertise on issues of environmental justice.  As the bill  
            moves forward, the author may wish to consider exploring other  
            options to improve the Commission's awareness of environmental  
            justice issues. 


          5)Prior Legislation.


          AB 1288 (Atkins), Chapter 586, Statutes of 2015, requires the  
          Senate Rules Committee and the Speaker of the Assembly to each  
          appoint one member to the ARB.  This bill requires appointees to  
          work directly with communities in the state that are most  
          significantly burdened by, and vulnerable to, high levels of  
          pollution, including communities with diverse racial and ethnic  
          populations and low-income populations.  


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Amigos de los Rios








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          Audubon California
          Azul
          California Coastal Protection Network
          California League of Conservation Voters
          Courage Campaign
          Day One
          Sierra Club California
          The Nature Conservancy
          Trust for Public Land


          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Michael Jarred / NAT. RES. / (916) 319-2092