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SB-367 Agricultural lands: greenhouse gases.(2015-2016)

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SB367:v92#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  August 17, 2015
Amended  IN  Assembly  July 06, 2015
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 24, 2015
Amended  IN  Senate  June 02, 2015
Amended  IN  Senate  May 06, 2015
Amended  IN  Senate  April 13, 2015
Amended  IN  Senate  April 06, 2015

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 367


Introduced by Senator Wolk
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Dodd)

February 24, 2015


An act to amend Sections 564, 566, and 568 of, and to add Sections 562 and 569 to, the Food and Agricultural Code, to amend Section 39719 of the Health and Safety Code, and to add Section 75217.5 to the Public Resources Code, relating to agriculture, and making an appropriation therefor.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 367, as amended, Wolk. Agricultural lands: greenhouse gases.
(1) Existing law, the Cannella Environmental Farming Act of 1995, requires the Department of Food and Agriculture to establish and oversee an environmental farming program to provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, and wildlife and their habitat. The act requires the Secretary of Food and Agriculture to convene a 5-member Scientific Advisory Panel on Environmental Farming for the purpose of providing advice and assistance to federal, state, and local government agencies on issues relating to air, water, and wildlife habitat, as specified.
This bill instead would authorize, rather than require, the environmental farming program to provide incentives, including loans, grants, research, technical assistance, or educational materials and outreach, to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, and wildlife and their habitat, and reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon storage in agricultural soils and woody biomass, or both. The bill would rename the panel the Environmental Farming Science Advisory Panel and revise the panel’s membership and duties, as specified. The bill would require the panel to provide a biennial report describing its work to the Legislature and the Governor, among others.
The bill would provide that $25,000,000 shall be made available to the department, upon appropriation, from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to support projects to demonstrate agricultural management practices and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage in agricultural soils and woody biomass, as specified. The bill would require the department, in consultation with the panel, to develop and implement a grant program to carry out the purposes of the act and would require the State Air Resources Board, in consultation with the secretary and the panel, to consider and recommend, as appropriate, the use of available tools to demonstrate and quantify greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the grant program.
(2) The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 designates the State Air Resources Board as the state agency charged with monitoring and regulating sources of emissions of greenhouse gases. The act authorizes the state board to include the use of market-based compliance mechanisms. Existing law requires all moneys, except for fines and penalties, collected by the state board from the auction or sale of allowances as part of a market-based compliance mechanism to be deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Existing law continuously appropriates 20% of the annual proceeds of the fund to the Strategic Growth Council for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, as provided.
This bill would require the council, no later than the 2015–16 fiscal year, to establish and administer a grant program, as part of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program established by the council in conjunction with the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, to provide financial incentives for the adoption and use of land management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon in soil and woody biomass, and provide other cobenefits on working agricultural operations, as specified.
The bill would continuously appropriate 2% of the annual proceeds of the fund to the Strategic Growth Council to be expended for agricultural land protection consistent with the provisions of that grant program, thereby making an appropriation.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 562 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

562.
 The Legislature further finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California’s agricultural output is larger and more diverse than any state in the United States, providing the majority of the country’s fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products.
(b) Dependent on land and natural resources, California agriculture is uniquely vulnerable to climate change, which poses a serious threat to California agriculture with rising temperatures, increases in extreme weather events, constrained water resources, reduced winter chilling hours, and rising sea levels.
(c) California agriculture also is uniquely positioned to provide climate benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Research funded by the State Energy Resources and Conservation Conservation and Development Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program finds that some agricultural practices will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they also may help to store carbon in soils and trees. Carbon storage is an important strategy to help meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions targets.
(d) Steps taken by those working in California agriculture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester atmospheric carbon can provide other important environmental cobenefits, such as improved air and water quality, water conservation, enhanced wildlife habitat, and healthier rural communities.
(e) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to enhance the long-term viability of California agriculture by supporting activities that reduce climate change impacts that may negatively impact it and the rest of the state.
(f) It is further the intent of the Legislature that the department, pursuant to this article, support the state’s agricultural sector in pursuing on-farm practices and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage in agricultural soils and woody biomass.

SEC. 2.

 Section 564 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

564.
 Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this article:
(a) “Agricultural activities” means those activities that generate products as specified in Section 54004.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Food and Agriculture.
(c) “Fund” means the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, created pursuant to Section 16428.8 of the Government Code.
(d) “Panel” means the Environmental Farming Science Advisory Panel.
(e) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.

SEC. 3.

 Section 566 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

566.
 (a) (1) The department shall establish and oversee an environmental farming program. The program may provide incentives, including, but not limited to, loans, grants, research, technical assistance, or educational materials and outreach, to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, and wildlife and their habitat and reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon storage in agricultural soils and woody biomass, or both.
(2) The department may provide support through the program that may include, but need not be limited to, permit assistance and coordination and the funding of on-farm demonstration projects in furtherance of the goals of the program.
(b) (1) The department may assist in the compilation of scientific evidence from public and private sources, including the scientific community, industry, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and local agencies identifying the net environmental impacts and benefits that agriculture creates for the environment.
(2) The department shall serve as the depository of the scientific evidence compiled pursuant to this subdivision and provide it to federal, state, and local agencies as needed.
(c) The department shall conduct the activities specified in this article with existing resources, to the extent they are available.

SEC. 4.

 Section 568 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

568.
 (a) The secretary shall convene an Environmental Farming Science Advisory Panel to advise the secretary on the implementation of an environmental farming program, established pursuant to Section 566, and assist federal, state, and local government agencies, as appropriate or necessary, on issues relating to the impact of agricultural practices on air, water, climate change, and wildlife habitat.
(b) (1) The panel shall consist of the following members:
(A) Two members appointed by the Secretary for Environmental Protection. One of these members shall have expertise in climate change and its impacts on California agriculture, and the other member shall have expertise in greenhouse gas emissions reduction practices related to agriculture.
(B) Two members appointed by the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency. One of these members shall be affiliated with the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts. The other member shall be engaged in the conduct of scientific research related to the purposes described in Section 566.
(C) Five members appointed by the secretary, according to the following:
(i) Three members who are agricultural producers in the state with at least five years of training and experience in the field of agriculture. At least one of these members shall be registered as a producer pursuant to the California Organic Products Act of 2003 (Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 46000) of Division 17).
(ii) One member who is affiliated with the University of California Cooperative Extension.
(iii) One member who is engaged in the conduct of scientific research related to the purposes described in Section 566.
(2) The secretary may appoint nonvoting advisers to the panel after consulting with the panel.
(3) The secretary shall designate the member who is to serve as the chair of the panel.
(4) Members of the panel shall be highly qualified and professionally active with at least five years of experience in their chosen field.
(5) Of the members first appointed to the panel, four shall serve for a term of two years and five shall serve for a term of three years, as determined by lot. Thereafter, members shall be appointed for a term of three years.
(c) The panel, at a minimum and as necessary, shall do all of the following:
(1) (A) Review data on the impact impacts and benefits that agriculture has on the environment and recommend to the secretary and other appropriate state agencies data that the panel determines is scientifically valid.
(B) A state agency that receives data recommended by the panel may adopt and incorporate the data into the appropriate program.
(C)  If a state agency does not utilize the data recommended by the panel, the state agency shall provide the panel with a written statement of reasons for not doing so. The reasons shall specify, at a minimum, the scientific basis for not utilizing the data. The reasons shall be provided within 180 days of receiving the data.
(2) Compile the net environmental impacts of agriculture on the environment, identified pursuant to paragraph (1), for use by the department, other relevant state agencies, and the public.
(3) Research, review, and comment on data upon which proposed environmental policies and regulatory programs are based to ensure that the environmental impacts of agricultural activities are accurately portrayed and to identify incentives that may be provided to encourage agricultural practices with environmental benefits.
(4) Assist government agencies to incorporate benefits identified pursuant to paragraph (1) into environmental regulatory programs.
(5) Review and advise the secretary and the State Board of Food and Agriculture on existing and proposed programs and projects that provide technical, educational, and financial assistance, including, but not limited to, competitive grants to agricultural producers that will result in multiple environmental and health benefits, including, but not limited to, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased carbon storage in soils and woody biomass, improved air and water quality, enhanced wildlife habitat, and improved local health outcomes.
(d) The State Air Resources Board, in consultation with the secretary and the panel, shall consider, and recommend, as appropriate, in the guidance developed pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 16428.9 of the Government Code, the use of available tools to demonstrate and quantify greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the grant program established pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 569, including, but not limited to, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s National Conservation Practice Standards and COMET-Farm and other quantification tools.
(e) The panel may establish ad hoc committees, which may include professionals or scientists, to assist it in performing its functions.
(f) (1) The panel shall submit a biennial report to the Legislature, the Governor, the agencies represented on the panel, and the State Board of Food and Agriculture that includes all of the following:
(A) A description of the work conducted by the panel during the prior two-year period.
(B) The panel’s action plan for the next two years, including goals and performance measures.
(2) The first report shall be submitted two years after the panel’s first meeting or January 1, 2019, whichever occurs first.
(3) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(g) The panel shall be created and maintained with funds made available from existing resources within the department to the extent they are available.

SEC. 5.

 Section 569 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

569.
 (a) The sum of twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000) shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, from the fund to the department to support projects to demonstrate agricultural management practices and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage in agricultural soils and woody biomass, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Soil-building and carbon-sequestration practices, including the increased use of compost and biochar, cover crops, and low- and no-till practices.
(2) Irrigation efficiency and water conservation measures, including soil-moisture monitoring, irrigation scheduling, high-efficiency water delivery technologies, dry farming, and on-farm water catchment.
(3) Alternative-energy production and energy efficiency, including energy produced from agricultural waste from a farm or at a an agricultural processing facility located in the state, and improved on-farm operational energy efficiencies.
(4) Wildlife habitat conservation, including hedgerow planting, native grass planting and restoration, agroforestry, and managed grazing for enhanced habitat.
(b) The department, in consultation with the panel, shall develop and implement a grant program to carry out the purposes of this article.
(c) The secretary and the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency shall enter into a memorandum of agreement among the department, the Department of Conservation, and other relevant state agencies to ensure the greatest possible coordination and collaboration in implementing the programs and projects funded pursuant to this section.

SEC. 6.

 Section 39719 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

39719.
 (a) The Legislature shall appropriate the annual proceeds of the fund for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this state in accordance with the requirements of Section 39712.
(b) To carry out a portion of the requirements of subdivision (a), annual proceeds are continuously appropriated for the following:
(1) Beginning in the 2015–16 fiscal year, and notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, 35 percent of annual proceeds are continuously appropriated, without regard to fiscal years, for transit, affordable housing, and sustainable communities programs as follows:
(A) Ten percent of the annual proceeds of the fund is hereby continuously appropriated to the Transportation Agency for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program created by Part 2 (commencing with Section 75220) of Division 44 of the Public Resources Code.
(B) Five percent of the annual proceeds of the fund is hereby continuously appropriated to the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program created by Part 3 (commencing with Section 75230) of Division 44 of the Public Resources Code. Moneys shall be allocated by the Controller, according to requirements of the program, and pursuant to the distribution formula in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 99312 of, and Sections 99313 and 99314 of, the Public Utilities Code.
(C) Twenty percent of the annual proceeds of the fund is hereby continuously appropriated to the Strategic Growth Council for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program created by Part 1 (commencing with Section 75200) of Division 44 of the Public Resources Code. Of the amount appropriated in this subparagraph, no less than 10 percent of the annual proceeds of the fund shall be expended for affordable housing, consistent with the provisions of that program and no less than two 2 percent of the annual proceeds of the fund shall be expended for agricultural land protection consistent with Section 75217.5 of the Public Resources Code.
(2) Beginning in the 2015–16 fiscal year, notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, 25 percent of the annual proceeds of the fund is hereby continuously appropriated to the High-Speed Rail Authority for the following components of the initial operating segment and Phase I Blended System as described in the 2012 business plan adopted pursuant to Section 185033 of the Public Utilities Code:
(A) Acquisition and construction costs of the project.
(B) Environmental review and design costs of the project.
(C) Other capital costs of the project.
(D) Repayment of any loans made to the authority to fund the project.
(c) In determining the amount of annual proceeds of the fund for purposes of the calculation in subdivision (b), the moneys subject to Section 39719.1 shall not be included.

SEC. 7.

 Section 75217.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

75217.5.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) It is in the interest of the state to provide incentives for the use of agricultural land management practices that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon in soils and woody biomass, and provide other cobenefits on working agricultural operations.
(2) The council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program, established pursuant to this chapter, has three elements, including financial incentives for the adoption and use of land management practices that achieve these goals.
(3) The 2014 program guidelines establish grant programs for the 2014–15 fiscal year to promote agricultural lands strategic planning and agricultural land conservation easements, but the guidelines do not establish a grant program to provide incentives for agricultural land management practices.
(b) (1) The council, no later than the 2015–16 fiscal year, shall establish and administer a grant program, as part of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program, to provide financial incentives for the adoption and use of land management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon in soil and woody biomass, and provide other cobenefits on working agricultural operations. The council shall consult with the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Environmental Farming Science Advisory Panel, established pursuant to Section 568 of the Food and Agricultural Code, when developing the grant program and guidelines.
(2) The council, as part of the grant program established pursuant to this subdivision, shall give priority to working agricultural operations that adopt land management practices that achieve the goals described in paragraph (1).