State Senator Fran Pavley has established herself as a strong advocate for environmental improvements in California. Her April 2009 e-newsletter mentions some of the legislation she has introduced recently to help with environmental efforts.Two of Pavley’s bills currently under consideration would help California’s critical water supply situation. SB229 is aimed at improving protections for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast. Two very dry years have depleted the natural supply of rain and snow to the Delta, while global warming threatens the levees surrounding the Delta islands. California’s fresh water supply could be tainted by rising sea levels flooding the islands, while a number of fish species are also threatened.The building of a canal to bring fresh water to the Delta has been suggested as a solution in the past, but was rejected by voters in 1982. “A canal alone won’t solve the deeper problem: an unsustainable level of demand for a limited supply of water,” says Pavley.Pavley hopes that SB 229 will provide protection for the Delta for now, while a long-term solution is sought. The bill will bring back the California Water Commission to enforce habitat protection and water laws in the Delta. Pavley’s other water-related bill, SB 681, is meant to establish clarity about who holds water rights in the rivers of California. It would give the State Water Resources Control Board greater authority over decisions regarding the rights to individual rivers and streams.“SB 681 was inspired by one of my heroes, Dorothy Green, the founding president of Heal The Bay,” says Pavley. Green passed away in October, 2008.Also water-related is Pavley’s SB 565,which will require the State Water Resources Control Board to develop a recycling plan for at least 50 per cent of the wastewater that is currently being discharged to the ocean. The State would have until 2030 to develop this plan. Funding for the plan would come from a fee imposed by the State on each person who discharges wastewater into the ocean.During April, Pavley expects to have some more of her bills heard by policy committees. On the environmental and health front, one bill is SB 797, which would ban the toxic chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby products.Pavley is now the chair of the Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation. (AB 32 was Pavley’s bill, successfully passed, to put a cap on greenhouse gases in California). The committee will hold hearings on many issues related to climate policy, clean technology, green jobs, the economic benefits of a low-carbon economy, funding for a low-carbon future, and effects of emerging climate policies on California.On March 25, Pavley was visited by ocean explorer Jean-Michel Costeau and several environmentalists, as part of Oceans Day’09, a day of advocacy for ocean health. The event’s organizers, which included Heal the Bay and Surfrider Foundation, awarded Pavley the status of “Ocean’s Hero.” More information on Senator Pavley’s legislation can be found at senate.ca.gov/pavley.
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