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LEGISLATION UPDATE: Advocates Calling on Governor Newsom to Sign Critical Bills

We've been counting down the days and here we are, post-legislative session with the bills that've made it piling up on Governor Gavin Newsom's desk. Now that he's back from a tumultuous climate change forum in New York, we expect the governor to sign, not sign or veto the bills before him.

Of particular concern: SB 1. Governor Newsom shocked environmental and labor leaders by announcing he plans to veto this bill considered vital to workers and wildlife.

Surfrider Foundation expressed our concern about this and urged him to sign SB 1 – and other priority legislation – in a letter to Governor Newsom, copied below. Want to make your voice heard? Call the governor's office at (916) 445-2841 or send an email and ask that he sign the following bills listed below.

Governor Newsom meets with environmental advocates at the state capitol

September 25, 2019
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of the State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, California 95814

Re: Request for Signatures on Surfrider’s Priority Legislation 

Dear Governor Newsom: 

Surfrider Foundation urges your signature on the following bills, each of which would provide needed benefits to California’s coast and ocean waters, and which together signal the importance of protecting our coastal recreational opportunities and economy. The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains more than a million supporters, activists and members, with over 170 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the United States, including a vast network within California.

AB 65 (Petrie-Norris) – Coastal protection: climate adaption: project prioritization: natural infrastructure: local general plans. 

This bill would require specific things of the State Coastal Conservancy when it allocates any funding appropriated pursuant to the The California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018. Most importantly, the bill would shift the state’s response to sea level rise to proactive adaptation by requiring the Conservancy to prioritize projects that use natural infrastructure, as defined, to help adapt to climate change.Studies have shown that the impacts of sea level rise, if not addressed wisely, will devastate California’s economy in the coming years. The bill would also authorize the conservancy to provide technical assistance to coastal communities to better assist them with their projects that use natural infrastructure.

AB 936 (Rivas) – Oil Spills: Response and Contingency Planning. 

This bill would establish a contingency plan for “nonfloating oil” spills, which includes dirty tar sands, crude oil and other extra heavy oils, and support research to develop nonfloating oil cleanup methods. We must ensure California’s precious ocean waters are protected by providing the state with the iresources to better prevent, contain, and clean up these types of dangerous and hard-to-manage oil spills. 

SB 1 (Atkins) – California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019. 

This bill would ensure that California maintains the protections that the Trump Administration seeks to undermine, namely the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. With a federal administration determined to weaken these environmental and public health laws, it’s imperative California step up to defend our clean air, water, and communities. We need SB 1 in order to hold on to clean air and water, shield endangered wildlife and preserve workers’ rights. 

SB 551 (Jackson) – Oil and gas: wells and facilities: abandonment and decommissioning: reporting and inspections. 

This bill would direct the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) in the Department of Conservation to collect liability reports from oil and gas well operators that outline the total cost to plug, abandon, and decommission wells and related infrastructure. The state should not be left with the responsibility of remediating abandoned oil and gas facilities.The bill requires each oil and gas operator to submit an assessment to DOGGR that summarizes their liability to plug and abandon wells and would ensure that operators are aware of and held accountable for these costs. 

Our coasts and ocean waters are inextricably linked to the California dream – and economy. The state must continue to lead the rest of the country by making a tangible commitment to protecting these valuable resources.

The Surfrider Foundation respectfully urges you to carefully consider your position on the above bills and sign these important pieces of legislation into law. Thank you for your consideration.


Jennifer Savage
California Policy Manager
Surfrider Foundation