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AB-1657 State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission: Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California: report.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/03/2020 09:00 PM
AB1657:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 03, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1657


Introduced by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia

February 22, 2019


An act to add Section 2944 to the Fish and Game Code, relating to the Salton Sea. An act to add Section 25232 to the Public Resources Code, relating to public resources.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1657, as amended, Eduardo Garcia. Salton Sea: Office of the Salton Sea: Salton Sea Oversight Committee. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission: Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California: report.
Existing law establishes in the Resources Agency the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, consisting of 5 members appointed by the Governor, as specified. Existing law requires the commission to undertake a continuing assessment of trends in the consumption of electrical energy and other forms of energy and to analyze the social, economic, and environmental consequences of these trends, and to carry out, or cause to be carried out, under contract or other arrangements, research and development into alternative sources of energy, improvements in energy generation, transmission, and siting, fuel substitution, and other topics related to energy supply, demand, public safety, ecology, and conservation that are of particular statewide importance.
This bill would require, on or before March 1, 2021, the commission to establish and convene the Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California, with specified members appointed as prescribed. The bill would require the Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California to review, investigate, and analyze certain issues and potential incentives, as described, regarding lithium extraction and use in California, and to consult, if feasible, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in performing these tasks. The bill would require the Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California to submit, on or before October 1, 2022, a report to the Legislature discussing and documenting its findings and recommendations.

The Salton Sea Restoration Act requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, in consultation and coordination with the Salton Sea Authority, to lead Salton Sea restoration efforts.

This bill would establish an Office of the Salton Sea within the Natural Resources Agency. The bill would require the secretary to establish a Salton Sea Oversight Committee.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) World demand for lithium is expected to grow as much as tenfold in the next decade, but virtually none is produced in the United States. Instead, almost all of the global lithium supply is currently mined in Argentina, Chile, China, and Australia.
(b) The Salton Sea geothermal resource area is well-positioned to become a competitive source of supply that could satisfy more than one-third of today’s worldwide lithium demand, but no mining companies will invest in this resource until the technology to recover lithium from geothermal brine on a commercial scale is proven and can occur without certain risks and uncertainties.
(c) There is a national security rationale for developing a domestic supply of lithium. Lithium was listed in the Federal Register as a critical mineral “essential to the economic and national security of the United States” pursuant to the 2017 presidential Executive Order 13187 titled “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”
(d) The opportunity for lithium production in California has the potential to unleash billions of dollars of new economic infrastructure development.

SEC. 2.

 Section 25232 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

25232.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Blue Ribbon Commission” means the Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California established pursuant to this section.
(2) “Commission” means the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.
(b) On or before March 1, 2021, the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission shall establish and convene the Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California. The Blue Ribbon Commission shall be composed of the following members:
(1) A member appointed by the commission.
(2) A member of the Public Utilities Commission, appointed by the Public Utilities Commission.
(3) A member appointed by the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency.
(4) A member, appointed by the commission, who represents the lithium extraction industry.
(5) A member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
(6) A member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules.
(7) A member, appointed by the commission, who represents a vehicle manufacturer.
(8) A member, appointed by the commission, who represents an environmental organization.
(9) A member, appointed by the commission, who represents local government.
(10) A member appointed by the Governor.
(c) The Blue Ribbon Commission shall review, investigate, and analyze the following issues:
(1) Methods of advanced procurement of geothermal power through integrated resources planning to create new market opportunities for lithium extraction, including water use from geothermal brine and the potential benefits of this process to the state and the United States, including grid stability, reliability, and resiliency.
(2) The value of geothermal projects through integration of emerging technologies and the added value from lithium extraction from geothermal brine.
(3) Methods of overcoming technical and economic challenges currently limiting lithium production.
(4) Safe environmental methods and standards for lithium extraction.
(5) The importance of, and opportunities for, state and federal investments to facilitate lithium extraction.
(6) The commission shall evaluate the application of local, state, and federal incentives, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Use of enhanced infrastructure financing districts, as defined in Section 53398.51 of the Government Code, or community revitalization investment authorities, as defined in Section 62001 of the Government Code.
(B) New employment tax credits in former enterprise zones.
(C) Income or franchise tax credits under agreements approved by the California Competes Tax Credit Committee.
(D) Sales tax exemptions for new manufacturing equipment.
(E) Leveraging tax incentives in federally recognized opportunity zones.
(7) Development of a centralized tracking system for lithium project permitting by state regulatory agencies.
(8) Recommended reports from state regulators on the status of lithium project permitting.
(9) Recommended training for state regulators on the lithium extraction process.
(d) In conducting the tasks described in subdivision (c), the Blue Ribbon Commission shall consult, when feasible, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
(e) On or before October 1, 2022, the Blue Ribbon Commission shall submit a report to the Legislature discussing and documenting its findings and recommendations developed after conducting the review and analyses required pursuant to subdivision (c).
(1) The report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(2) The requirement to submit a report pursuant to this subdivision shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025.

SECTION 1.Section 2944 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:
2944.

(a)There is in the Natural Resources Agency an Office of the Salton Sea. Staffing for the office shall include, but is not limited to, project management, engineering, scientific, legal, and community engagement staff.

(b)(1)The secretary shall establish a Salton Sea Oversight Committee.

(2)The Natural Resources Agency or one or more of its departments, or both, shall provide staff support for the activities of the Salton Sea Oversight Committee, including, but not limited to, support for the organization of meetings and preparing of reports.

(3)The Salton Sea Oversight Committee shall be subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).