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2024 Coast & Ocean Legislation

Surfrider tracks legislation & budget related to our coastal priorities. The last day to introduce a bill this year is February 16. The Legislature will propose changes to the Governor's budget by April 1 .

 

 

Defend the coastal resilience budget

Despite California's grim overall budget outlook for 2024-2025, Surfrider is asking legislators — for the second year in a row — to revive the coastal resilience budget. In January, Governor Newsom proposed a budget that slashed climate funding, cutting the state's budget for coastal climate adaptation projects and sea level rise planning by more than 40%. In total, the proposal reverted (took back) $450 million that was already appropriated (promised) to the State Coastal Conservancy and the Ocean Protection Council for coastal resilience work. From January through April, the Legislature will re-work the Governor's proposal, and in May, the Governor will produce a revised budget (the May Revise.) Surfrider will be involved in advocacy to restore the coastal resilience budget throughout this process.

 

Get a Climate Bond on the Ballot

Bonds offer an opportunity to ask California voters what type of projects in the state they want to see funded. With the state's revenue projections being so low, a major opportunity to secure life support for coastal adaptation projects is through bond funding. Surfrider is part of a coalition of NGOs contributing to a $10 billion climate bond proposal, which will include $1 billion for coastal protection and resilience. This funding would help California avoid the emergencies that will inevitably emerge from accelerated coastal flooding in the future by supporting resilience projects in coastal communities. Surfrider is recommending bond language to legislators and will support the bond's track to the ballot as it makes its way through committee in the Legislature this year.

 

Stand Up for the Coastal Act

The Coastal Act is a bedrock environmental law that requires the State of California to balance private property considerations with coastal resource and access protections. Because the Coastal Act requires the state to consider the coastal zone's sensitive coastal resources in permitting development, development along the coast undergoes an extra layer of review — and there is significant pressure in the State Legislature to 'streamline,' or avoid this layer of review. The State's housing crisis in particular has accelerated this pressure. Surfrider supports taking a comprehensive policy approach to both housing and coastal development and does not support streamlining development 'at all costs' near the coast; particularly in the age of sea level rise where flooding and erosion present emerging hazards to safe development. Our stance is outlined in our opposition to SB 423 in 2023, and is again relevant to our San Francisco Chapter's 'Oppose Unless Amended' position on SB 951 this year. Inevitably more bills that aim to streamline coastal permitting will be introduced this year and will require nuanced policy review. Surfrider maintains that California should provide affordable housing along the coast without siting development in floodplains or weakening the Coastal Commission's ability to ensure coastal access in California. 

 

Support/Oppose These Bills 

Surfrider supports AB 1407, introduced in 2023 by Assemblymember Dawn Addis. Surfrider San Luis Obispo submitted a letter in support of this bill because it will establish a framework and goals for kelp recovery in the state.

Surfrider is excited to co-sponsor, SB 1167 (Blakespear) to require reusable cups when dining in at chain restaurants, along with Californians Against Waste, Heal the Bay, and 5 Gyres. 

California has the opportunity to strengthen its statewide bag ban, which was passed over ten years ago. SB 1053 (Blakespear) / AB 2236 (Bauer-Kahan) would ban the use of all plastic bags by grocery stores. 

Surfrider opposes SB 951, introduced in January by Senator Wiener, unless amended. Surfrider's San Francisco chapter supported a local resolution introduced by County Supervisor Aaron Peskin to oppose the portion of the bill that removes residential housing from San Francisco's coastal zone.  We support eliminating current Section 2 of the bill that would redraw the Coastal Zone boundary, eliminating current Section 3 of the bill curtailing the Commission and public’s appeal authority, and instead recommend developing reforms to more effectively tighten housing requirements in the Coastal Zone. Stay tuned for a campaign page and read more about the issue in the SF Chronicle.

*More bills will be be added to this list throughout February, and our support for bills will span the legislative session (through the end of September.) If you'd like feedback on a bill or want Surfrider to consider a formal stance, email Laura Walsh lwalsh@surfrider.org