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Each year, the Clean Water Action team analyzes hundreds of bills moving through the state legislature and engages with bill authors and allies to either support those that will benefit California and its residents or help to stop those initiatives that would weaken our environmental protections.  We also sponsor bills as an organization, working with legislative champions to write and pass bills that will promote clean water and equitable access for all Californians, stopping the use of toxic chemicals in the products we use so they don’t enter the environment, protecting the largely low-income BIPOC communities that sit next to oil and gas extraction from harmful effects, and reducing waste and plastics.

This year Clean Water Action is sponsoring four groundbreaking bills to restrict the continued use of super-toxic chemicals before they enter our water and bodies and ensure that all Californians have access to clean, affordable water.  We’re also engaging in bills to address antiquated water rights in the state and to develop a bond to support climate resilience and water sustainability for future generations. Here’s a quick rundown of what we’re working on:

SB 903, The "Ending Forever Chemicals Act"  (Skinner) is a groundbreaking bill that will prohibit the sale and distribution of any non-essential products that contain PFAS in California starting January 1, 2030. While both Maine and Minnesota have passed similar prohibitions, this bill goes further by providing a science-based framework by which regulators can determine whether or not the PFAS in a product category is truly  unavoidable and essential at this time, basing their decision on if (1) there are no safer alternatives to PFAS available, (2) the function provided by PFAS in the product is necessary for the product to work, or (3) the use of PFAS in the product is critical for health, safety, or the functioning of society. Even in these cases, companies will have a limited extension, motivating them to develop less toxic alternatives.  
Clean Water Action is co-sponsoring SB 903 with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, the Environmental Working Group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Send A Message In Support Of SB 903

AB 2761, The Reducing Toxics in Packing Act (Hart/Lowenthal) will ban PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PFAS plastic packaging in California.  All plastic is, to some degree, toxic and creates severe environmental problems through its production, use, and disposal.  However, the Plastics Pact, a consortium of over 100 major companies and stakeholders, has identified PVC plastic and plastic containing PFAS as among the most harmful types of plastic and easily replaceable with less hazardous alternatives. PFAS are highly persistent chemicals that are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, kidney and liver damage, thyroid disease, developmental harm, and immune system disruption, including interference with vaccine efficacy. PVC and its cousin PVDC is not recyclable and is incredibly toxic, resulting in harmful exposures at every stage of its lifecycle. PVC / PVDC production involves numerous toxic chemicals, including asbestos, PFAS, ethylene dichloride, and vinyl chloride. PVC / PVDC often includes harmful additives, such as heavy metals, bisphenols, phthalates, and flame retardants.
Clean Water Action is co-sponsoring SB 903 with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Californians Against Waste, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  

Send A Message In Support Of AB 2761

SB 1255 Addressing Water Affordability (Durazo) is an important step in keeping taps running in all California households.  Under state law, access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water is a human right.  However, water rates have been rising faster than inflation for the past two decades, leaving millions of California households struggling to pay their bills. Clean Water Action has been working to address this problem.  In 2014, we supported legislation that required the state to prepare a plan for a state-wide Low Income Rate Assistance Program for water, similar to those that already exist for other utilities. Our initial effort to implement the recommendations, SB 222 in 2022, was vetoed. This year, we are co-sponsoring SB 1255,  which  will require the State Water Board to regularly assess the costs of providing safe drinking water to customers of small water systems (serving less than 3,000 households). These systems lack the economies of scale of larger systems, so the cost of providing service can quickly become unaffordable. This bill will provide needed data to allow the state to develop a program to achieve water affordability.  
Clean Water Action is co-sponsoring SB 1255 with Community Water Center and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

AB 828 Addressing Groundwater Management (Connolly). The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was passed in 2014 to address the problem of rampant groundwater mismanagement.  Since then, local agencies have been working on plans that in some cases require a more than 50% reduction in groundwater pumping. For small communities and managed wetlands, which use a small amount of water in these basins, cuts in pumping would be disastrous, depriving farmworker communities of their human right to safe and affordable water and reducing wetland acreage that is already just 10% of what is was before white settlement.  AB 828 seeks to address this by temporarily exempting these uses from pumping reductions and fees.  
Clean Water Action is co-sponsoring SB 828 with Audubon California

Working toward an equitable climate bond
Clean Water Action has joined more than 150 environmental and environmental justice organizations to urge the Governor and Legislature to place a water and climate resilience bond on the November ballot.  The current budget crisis has resulted in billions of dollars in investments being delayed or eliminated; these dollars are needed to both meet the state’s climate goals and protect communities already impacted by climate change.  Our organizations established principles to identify needed investments, then developed bond priorities. We have identified $10 billion in critical investments to address climate change. The key priorities laid out in our bond plan are protecting safe drinking water, developing effective flood protection, wildfire prevention and resilience, nature-based solutions and protecting biodiversity,  programs to address extreme heat and community resilience, coastal protection, sustainable agriculture, clean air, and maintaining parks and outdoor access.