California Legislators and Advocates Call for Critical Natural Resources Programs and Prop 68 Implementation Funding
(SACRAMENTO, CA) — Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Senator Henry Stern (D-Calabasas) held a press conference today calling for budget funding for critical natural resources programs, climate resiliency, and implementation of Proposition 68.
“These essential programs have already established a proven track record of public health, environmental, and economic benefits for communities across our state. Underserved areas like those in my district have been able to wield these grant opportunities in order to construct new parks, expand city greening, support agricultural efficiencies, and improve the condition of the Salton Sea,” shared Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
“Following our efforts to pass AB 398 (E. Garcia, 2017) which extended our state’s cap-and-trade program and Proposition 68 (SB 5, 2017), I always envisioned that we would be able to sustain investments into these programs and allow them to carry out their work. Keeping these programs alive is essential to helping us meet our emission reduction and other environmental targets while leveraging optimal co-benefits. We hope that we can count on the Governor’s support in the next budget draft.”
“As the recent fire in my hometown made all too clear, our climate change liabilities are growing,” said Senator Henry Stern. “Funding programs that achieve emissions reductions and bolster our resiliency through investment in our natural resources and working lands will save billions over time in costs that could otherwise crush local governments. Action is cheaper than inaction, and that’s why we’re encouraging the Governor and our colleagues to include funding for these critical programs in this year’s budget.”
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia has submitted letters to Senate Budget Subcommittee 2 and Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3 specifically requesting that the Legislature appropriates $400 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Fund for the following natural resources programs:
- Urban Forestry Program under Cal Fire
- Urban Greening Program under the California Natural Resources Agency
- State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) under the California Department of Food and Agriculture
- Healthy Soils Program under the California Department of Food and Agriculture
- Wetlands and Watershed Restoration Program under the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Programs under the Wildlife Conservation Board, California State Coastal Conservancy, California Coastal Commission, and San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
“With 95% of the population now living in urban areas, urban trees and green space are critical to the health and well-being of Californians. In addition to sequestering carbon, urban trees will help protect residents against extreme heat events, the resulting poor air quality, and heat-related deaths and illness. Trees are one of the most cost-effective, multi-benefit solutions available to cities for fighting climate change and building community resiliency,” said California ReLeaf Executive Director Cindy Blain.
Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy added, “California’s natural and working lands are our last line of defense in protecting our climate and communities. When we protect nature, nature protects us. We commend the Assembly and Senate leadership effort to ensure there is adequate investment in these critical resources to protect our quality of life and achieve California’s climate goals.”
What They Are Saying About It/Additional Stakeholder Statements:
Guillermo Rodriguez, California State Director, The Trust for Public Land
"There is incredible urgency to invest now in the Urban Greening and Urban Forest Programs. Low-income, densely populated communities in California are not prepared for the impacts of climate change - they simply don't have green spaces and tree canopy to protect them from extreme vulnerability from severe heat and flooding - events we know are here now, and will get worse."
Sarah Rose, Executive Director, Audubon California
“Investing in our natural working lands makes tremendous sense, not just for our environment, but also for our economy. Every day we learn more about how climate change threatens not just our natural treasures, but our way of life, but we can make a better future with smart investments in the natural environment.”
Jeanne Merrill, Policy Director, California Climate and Agriculture Network
"Agricultural solutions to climate change will help keep farmers on the land, improve our environment and secure our food production. State investments in our natural and working lands are critical for our long term health and food security."
Paul Mason, Vice President of Policy and Incentives, Pacific Forest Trust
“Climate change is already upon us with extreme flooding, devastating fires, and searing heat in our cities. Restoring our watersheds and greening our communities will help protect us from these disasters, but these actions take time to come to fruition. We need to act now to prepare for the more extreme climate change that is coming.”