BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
                               Senator Wieckowski, Chair
                                 2015 - 2016  Regular 
           
          Bill No:            SB 1030
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          |Author:    |McGuire                                              |
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          |Version:   |2/12/2016              |Hearing      |4/20/2016       |
          |           |                       |Date:        |                |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Dan Brumbaugh                                        |
          |           |                                                     |
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          SUBJECT:  Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority

            ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law: 
          
          1) Under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB  
             32, Nez and Pavley), requires the California Air Resources  
             Board (ARB) to determine the 1990 statewide greenhouse gas  
             (GHG) emissions level and approve a statewide GHG emissions  
             limit equivalent to that level, to be achieved by 2020.  AB 32  
             also requires ARB to, among other things, prepare and approve a  
             scoping plan to achieve the maximum technologically feasible  
             and cost-effective reduction of GHG emissions by 2020, to be  
             updated every five years. (Health and Safety Code 38500 et  
             seq.)

          2) Establishes the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection  
             Authority (RCPA), and authorizes it to perform coordination and  
             implementation activities within Sonoma County to assist  
             agencies that choose to participate in meeting their greenhouse  
             gas emission reduction goals as set forth in resolutions and  
             adopted plans.  The RCPA may also develop, coordinate, and  
             implement programs and policies to comply with AB 32 and other  
             state or federal mandates and programs designed to respond to  
             greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. (Public Utilities  
             Code 181000 et seq.)

          3) Sunsets the RCPA on December 1, 2019. (PUC 181016)








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          This bill:

          1) Repeals the December 1, 2019 sunset provision for the RCPA,  
             making it permanently authorized.

            Background
             
          1) The Regional Climate Protection Authority is a unique  
             governance structure, requested by the County of Sonoma County  
             and statutorily created through AB 881 (Huffman, Chapter 375,  
             Statutes of 2009) to better address climate change and the  
             local government response to reducing GHG emissions. Sonoma  
             County communities had been working on climate change in  
             various ways since the early 2000s, by adopting GHG reduction  
             targets, developing municipal climate action plans, and  
             pursuing individual projects and programs. However, many of  
             these efforts were being done piecemeal and only as funding  
             allowed. The idea for the RCPA emerged in the late 2000s, after  
             the passage of AB 32 and the stimulus funding directed to  
             energy efficiency and conservation block grants.

             As Suzanne Smith, the Executive Director of the RCPA, wrote in  
             submitted testimony for a Senate Environmental Quality  
             Committee Informational Hearing in 2015, "it became apparent  
             that the state and federal landscape for climate policy and  
             funding was evolving rapidly.  It was also apparent that our  
             jurisdictions could better navigate the challenges created by  
             climate change by working together. The RCPA was created to  
             mirror the model of the transportation authority - to pool  
             resources, maximize the efficiency of programs, and create  
             structured platforms for collaboration. Our agencies also serve  
             as a conduit for funding for implementation on a local level  
             and as a liaison to state and federal agencies."

             The RCPA, in cooperation with local agencies that elect to  
             participate, develops, coordinates, and implements activities  
             within Sonoma County to comply with local, state, and federal  
             mandates and programs designed to respond to GHG emissions and  
             climate change. In addition to the County of Sonoma, the RCPA's  
             current members include nine cities within Sonoma County. Seven  
             other local entities - including Sonoma County Water Agency,  
             Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, Sonoma  
             Clean Power, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open  
             Space District, Sonoma County Energy Independence Program,  








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             Sonoma County Health Action, and Sonoma County Solid Waste  
             Management Authority - also serve as partners to support the  
             RCPA.

             AB 881 originally authorized the RCPA until December 1, 2015,  
             and AB 693 (Huffman, Chapter 599, Statutes of 2012) extended  
             the sunset date until December 1, 2019. A state-mandated local  
             government entity, the RCPA is governed and managed by the same  
             board and executive director as governs and manages the Sonoma  
             County Transportation Authority, which was created pursuant to  
             the Local Transportation Authority and Improvement Act (SB 142,  
             Deddeh, Chapter 786, Statutes of 1987).  Nonetheless, the two  
             authorities are administered separately.  AB 881 authorizes  
             RCPA to apply for grants and receive funds to carry out its  
             functions, but it prohibits the use of transportation funds by  
             RCPA other than for transportation activities.

             The Public Review Draft Climate Action 2020 Plan, released in  
             March 2016 by the RCPA on behalf of the ten local government  
             jurisdictions of Sonoma County, reflects the opportunity for an  
             efficient regional effort in response to climate change (i.e.,  
             developing one plan instead of ten), economies of scale  
             (emphasizing regional programs and consistent policies), and  
             the importance of RCPA staff support for implementation. The  
             proposed approach puts the RCPA in charge of implementation  
             plans, securing funding, community engagement, monitoring and  
             reporting, and plan updates based on the next State Scoping  
             Plan.

             According to the RCPA's Plan, local climate actions will  
             account for over 677,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents  
             (MTCO2e) annually and reach their target of a 25% reduction  
             below 1990 emission levels by 2020. This compares to  
             state-level efforts that are expected to generate reductions of  
             over 750,000 MTCO2e in Sonoma County. Through the RCPA, Sonoma  
             County will be matching State efforts by approximately 90%.  
             Echoing state-wide goals, the Plan also includes targets of  
             local reductions below 1990 levels of 40% by 2030 and 80% by  
             2050. In addition to emissions reductions, the Plan also  
             focuses on "climate readiness" through analysis of economic and  
             social vulnerabilities and adaptation planning.

             In December 2014, 16 local government "Climate Action  
             Champions" across the U.S. were recognized as leaders in  








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             climate change by the White House, including two in the Bay  
             Area: San Francisco for a wide-range of climate and  
             sustainability targets and goals to measure progress, and RCPA,  
             as the first local government agency created to specifically  
             address climate change and in recognition of the successes  
             achieved via their collaborative model in Sonoma County.
            
          Comments
          
          1) Purpose of Bill.

             According to the author, "California's diversity of geography,  
             infrastructure and resources make it difficult to use a one  
             size fits all approach to greenhouse gas mitigation. And, while  
             overarching regulations and guidelines are necessary and serve  
             the state in developing targets and goals for emissions  
             reductions, greenhouse gas mitigation strategies must be  
             implemented at the local level. Local government agencies like  
             the RCPA have the necessary knowledge to execute climate action  
             plans provided the uniqueness of differing localities."

             "The RCPA has a proven track record of achieving more ambitious  
             goals than are required by AB 32's Scoping Plan. According to  
             the climate action strategies set forth by the RCPA, Sonoma  
             County climate action efforts will complement the State's  
             efforts to nearly a 1 to 1 match.  Their collaborative approach  
             ensures communities with limited resources are not left out  
             because of budgets constraints."

          2) Why is a bill needed? Although major policies have been  
             established at the state and federal levels to reduce GHG  
             emissions, current actions at the local planning and service  
             levels can also contribute a substantial fraction of GHG  
             reductions. Arguably in the future, local emissions reductions  
             may increase even more so to represent a larger share of  
             overall societal emissions reductions.

             Because the RPCA was the first of its kind to be created, the  
             Legislature placed a sunset date on it to provide an  
             opportunity to assess its effectiveness before making it  
             permanent. This sunset date has been extended once in 2012.  
             However, the author contends that the RCPA now has sufficient  
             history to demonstrate effectiveness over the longer term.









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             SB 1030 repeals the sunset provision to allow RCPA greater  
             certainty for the long term challenges of climate change  
             mitigation and adaptation.

          3) How is the RPCA funded? The RCPA receives core financial  
             support from its local government members, and does not receive  
             any state appropriations. Statute allows the RCPA to also apply  
             for and receive grants. Designated transportation funds may  
             only be used for transportation-related climate actions, and  
             RCPA is prohibited from using local transportation tax revenues  
             from the 2004 voter approved Traffic Relief Act for Sonoma  
             County (Measure M).
            
          DOUBLE REFERRAL:
          
          This measure was heard in Senate Transportation and Housing  
          Committee on 
          March 29, 2016, and passed out of committee with a vote of 8-2.

            SOURCE:               Author  

           SUPPORT: 
                         
          Bay Area Regional Energy Network 
          Center for Climate Protection 
          City of Cloverdale
          City of Cotati
          City of Petaluma
          City of Santa Rosa
          City of Sebastopol
          Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District
          Sierra Club California
          Sonoma Clean Power
          Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
          Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
          Sonoma County Water Agency 
          The Nature Conservancy
          Town of Windsor
           
           OPPOSITION:    

          None received  

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:








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          The Center for Climate Protection and multiple cities note that  
          "Sonoma County communities rely on the RCPA to advance a  
          countywide long term response to climate change by providing a  
          regional policy forum, staff level coordination, public education,  
          program management, grant administration, and reporting. The RCPA  
          is able to efficiently develop climate action strategies on behalf  
          of multiple local agencies at once. It also helps to align  
          projects across entities towards maximum, integrated benefits."

          The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) writes that "RCPA  
          has been a statewide local government leader in the development of  
          programs like Energy Upgrade California, Pay As You Save?, local  
          Adaptation Forums, Community Choice Energy, and other innovations  
          in climate action. The RCPA was instrumental during the creation  
          of the BayREN, and RCPA staff continue to serve as a leader in the  
          delivery of BayREN programs."

          The Northern Sonoma County Air Protection Control District  
          (NSCAPCD) writes that it "is a partner of the RCPA and has been a  
          supporter since its inception. The RCPA assists Sonoma County and  
          the Bay Area in reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) by coordinating  
          with climate change organizations to implement best practices and  
          utilizing available resources most effectively. The NSCAPCD  
          collaborates with the RCPA on many projects including energy  
          efficiency rebates and financing, renewable energy implementation,  
          low carbon transportation planning, electric vehicle  
          infrastructure planning, public outreach, and planning for climate  
          resilience."

          The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space  
          District writes that "The District is a partner to the RCPA and  
          collaborates with the RCPA on many projects including the Climate  
          Action through Conservation initiative, Urban Footprint climate  
          scenario modeling tool, Climate Action 2020, and climate  
          adaptation planning. The RCPA is an essential partner as we work  
          to conserve land and reduce sprawl and associated vehicle  
          emissions.

          Other letters offered similar praise about the vital role of the  
          RCPA in initiating and supporting local and regional cross-cutting  
          programs.
           
                                            









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