Natural Resources Committee Passes Atkins’ Bill to Protect California from Sea Level Rise
SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) today presented SB 1, a landmark bill to help California address the impacts of sea level rise, to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, which approved the bill in a 7-2 vote.
“Climate change is acutely affecting California’s coast in subtle and damaging ways through sea level rise. With experts predicting that our state could experience a half foot of sea level rise in the next decade and up to seven feet by the end of the century, the changes could inundate low-lying coastal areas, cause adverse impacts on inland areas, and wreak havoc on our communities and economy,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “We have all experienced the devastating effects of climate change, from disasters like massive wildfires, where we have lost hundreds of lives and seen property destroyed, to long periods of severe drought, which has affected the state’s ability to grow food. This bill would launch efforts that could make a real difference in our state’s response to the yet another imminent threat of climate change – sea level rise.”
SB 1, the Sea Level Rise Mitigation and Adaptation Act, directs the Coastal Commission to take sea level rise into account in its planning, policies, and activities, and would establish the California Sea Level Rise State and Regional Support Collaborative, a cross-government group tasked with educating the public and advising local, regional, and state government on feasible sea level rise mitigation efforts. The bill also would expand funding to assist more disadvantaged communities along the coast that are vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and are actively working to address environmental justice issues.
Funding for SB 1 is included in SB 45, a $5.5 billion bond measure that includes $970 million for coastal protection and restoration. That funding is intended to address sea level rise, which includes better local and regional planning and project investment. The bill specifies that the funding would allocate $100 million per year for this effort.
“In addressing sea level rise, we must continue to focus on how it also will impact communities that can least afford to address it – communities like Imperial Beach and Chula Vista in my region, Port Hueneme and Marina on the central coast, and from Milpitas to Crescent City in the north,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “This bill is an opportunity for California to not only tackle sea level rise, but a chance to ensure that we are doing so in a way that keeps environmental justice at the forefront of our efforts.”
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins