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AB-470 California Green Business Program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/11/2019 09:00 PM
AB470:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 470


Introduced by Assembly Member Limón

February 11, 2019


An act to add Section 12812.7 to the Government Code, and to amend Section 25244.17.2 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to climate change.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 470, as introduced, Limón. California Green Business Program.
Existing law creates the California Environmental Protection Agency, consisting of various boards, offices, and departments, including the State Air Resources Board and the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 establishes the State Air Resources Board as the state agency responsible for monitoring and regulating sources emitting 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 as part of a market-based compliance mechanism to be deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and to be available upon appropriation by the Legislature.
This bill would establish the California Green Business Program within the California Environmental Protection Agency. The bill would require the California Green Business Program to, among other things, develop baseline, beyond compliance, sector-specific environmental standards, as defined, for green business certification programs operated by local governments or their designees. The bill would also provide for the establishment of these local programs, which would certify small- and medium-sized businesses and public agencies as California green businesses, or an equivalent designation of the local program’s choosing, for voluntarily adopting environmentally preferable business practices, including, but not limited to, increased energy efficiency, pollution prevention, reduced greenhouse gas emissions reduction, water conservation, waste reduction practices, and efficient and active transportation initiatives. The bill would delete an existing authorization for the Department of Toxic Substances Control to create a similar program.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 12812.7 is added to the Government Code, to read:

12812.7.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Beyond compliance environmental standards” means environmental standards for a business, including general or industry-specific standards, that are stricter than the environmental standards otherwise applicable to that business under state, federal, and local laws.
(2) “Business” means a business or public agency.
(3) “California green business” means a business that voluntarily adopts certification standards under a green business certification program established pursuant to subdivision (c).
(4) “Environmental standards” means standards requiring the implementation of certain measures, or that place limitations on the use of certain resources or disposal of certain substances, to conserve, protect, restore, or enhance environmental quality.
(5) “Local government” means a city, city and county, or county.
(6) “Responsible agencies” includes local or regional governmental agencies or special districts that are responsible for monitoring or enforcing compliance related to hazardous and toxic materials, stormwater runoff, air and water pollution, and wastewater, and local or regional governmental agencies, designated entities of those agencies, or utilities that are responsible for monitoring or enforcing compliance related to energy and water use, solid waste disposal, and recycling.
(b) The California Green Business Program is hereby established within the California Environmental Protection Agency to be administered by the Secretary for Environmental Protection. Upon the appropriation of funds, for these purposes the secretary shall contract with a nonprofit organization to administer the program. The nonprofit organization shall have a history of working with and coordinating local green business programs on a statewide basis. The program shall do all of the following:
(1) Develop baseline, beyond compliance, sector-specific environmental standards for local green business certification programs established pursuant to subdivision (c), under which a local government or its designee may certify small- and medium-sized businesses, as defined by the local program, as California green businesses for voluntarily adopting environmentally preferable business practices, including, but not limited to, increased energy efficiency, pollution prevention, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, water conservation, waste reduction practices, and efficient and active transportation initiatives.
(2) Promote consistency among programs that certify California green businesses throughout the state.
(3) Promote the early adoption of environmental initiatives and provide a publicly recognizable incentive for participating businesses to make their operations more sustainable and profitable in order to gain measurable environmental outcomes.
(4) Develop technical guidance on pollution prevention and greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures, conduct industry studies and pilot projects, establish metrics, and provide policy coordination for the green business certification programs operated by local governments or their designees.
(5) Develop tools, templates, and outreach campaigns on behalf of the green business certification programs operated by local governments and their designees to encourage business participation and public recognition of the certification as a reliable indicator of sustainability.
(6) Support, through staffing and contacts, the funding for on-the-ground professionals specializing in technical assistance for small- and medium-sized businesses seeking California green business certification and for public involvement to recruit additional participating businesses.
(7) Provide for collaboration between the green business certification programs operated by local governments and state agencies that operate small business efficiency and economic development programs, including the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the Department of Community Services and Development, and with the Public Utilities Commission, the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the Department of Water Resources, and the boards, offices, and departments within the California Environmental Protection Agency. The nature of the collaboration may include attempting to meet and measure state-mandated conservation efforts at small- and medium-sized businesses; developing methods to collect, measure, and report on environmental outcomes; and using California green businesses as the early adopters of environmental initiatives that lead to greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
(8) Maintain and enhance a common network database integrating measurable pollution reductions and cost savings to businesses seeking California green business certification through the local government programs and add participating businesses that receive the certification to a directory of certified California green businesses that would be used to promote the certified businesses both to other businesses that are seeking to green their supply chain and to consumers seeking to support sustainable businesses.
(9) Position certified California green businesses as supply-chain partners for state, national, and international companies seeking green supply-chain partners.
(10) Solicit the participation of additional local government programs and facilitate the startup of new local programs, including extra support and a specific prioritized focus on assistance for disadvantaged communities that lack local funding and resources to develop a program.
(11) When available, provide funding to local government programs for staff support and provide additional resources and funding for direct rebates and grants to certified California green businesses.
(12) Facilitate coordination and communication between local governmental agencies to benefit businesses, streamline requirements and offerings, and increase conservation savings.
(c) A local government may establish a green business certification program by notifying the California Green Business Program and designating a green business coordinator. A local program shall certify businesses as California green businesses, or an equivalent designation of the local program’s choosing, in accordance with the following guidelines:
(1) The local program shall develop certification standards that are at least as restrictive as the baseline standards developed pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b).
(2) (A) The local program may only certify a business as a California green business upon verifying, based on an onsite evaluation pursuant to paragraph (3), that the business complies with the standards developed pursuant to paragraph (1).
(B) In the case of a chain, franchise, or other business that has multiple locations, the local program shall certify locations of that business on an individual basis.
(C) Certification shall be subject to renewal after a period of not more than five years.
(3) (A) The local program shall periodically conduct onsite evaluations of certified California green businesses to ensure compliance with the standards developed pursuant to paragraph (1). At a minimum, the local program shall conduct an onsite evaluation before awarding or renewing certification.
(B) Nothing in this paragraph limits the authority of a responsible agency to conduct its own evaluation of a California green business for compliance with environmental standards within the responsible agency’s jurisdiction.
(4) If a business’s certification lapses or is revoked, the local program shall ensure that all signs of certification are removed from the business’s previously certified premises.
(5) The local program shall not certify any of the following:
(A) A business that manufactures toxic or hazardous materials.
(B) A business that produces substantial quantities of hazardous waste as a byproduct, or uses substantial quantities of toxic materials, if state guidelines, developed pursuant to this section in consultation with local programs, make those businesses ineligible for certification.
(C) Manufactured products.
(D) Professional qualifications.
(E) Quality of service.
(F) Any additional category or aspect of business that the local program, consistent with the purposes of this section, may choose to exempt from certification.

SEC. 2.

 Section 25244.17.2 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

25244.17.2.
 (a) (1)The department may provide pollution prevention training and resources to CUPAs, small business development corporations, business environmental assistance centers, and other regional and local government environmental programs so that they can provide technical assistance to businesses in identifying and applying methods of pollution prevention.

(2)

(b) The activities conducted pursuant to paragraph (1) subdivision (a) shall emphasize activities necessary to implement Sections 25244.17 and 25244.17.1.

(b)As part of implementing the program authorized by this section, the department may develop a California Green Business Program that provides support and assistance to programs operated by local governments to meet the requirement of subdivision (c) and that would voluntarily certify small businesses that adopt environmentally preferable business practices, including, but not limited to, increased energy efficiency, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, promotion of water conservation, and reduced waste generation. The department’s California Green Business Program may do any or all of the following:

(1)Assist the network of statewide local government programs in implementing guidelines and structures that establish and promote a level of consistency among green business programs across the state.

(2)Support, through staffing and contracts, the development and maintenance of a statewide database to register small businesses granted green business certification, or its equivalent, pursuant to a local government program, and track measurable pollution reductions and cost savings.

(3)Solicit participation of additional local programs and facilitate the startup of new local programs.

(4)Develop technical guidance on pollution prevention measures, conduct industry studies and pilot projects, and provide policy coordination for the participating local programs.

(5)Collaborate with relevant state agencies that operate small business efficiency and economic development programs, including, but not limited to, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, the Public Utilities Commission, the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the Department of Water Resources.

(c)The department may provide support and assistance to a local government program to enable the program to meet all of the following requirements:

(1)The program will be operated by a local government or its designee.

(2)The program will adopt industry-specific standards for green business certification, or its equivalent, in consultation with the other participants in the California Green Business Program.

(3)The program will grant a small business that voluntarily applies to the program a green business certification or its equivalent, only upon a determination by the program operator or designee that the business is a small business, as determined by the program, and complies with the industry-specific standards for green business certification adopted pursuant to paragraph (2).

(4)The program will grant a green business certification, or its equivalent, to small businesses, as determined by the program, in accordance with all of the following requirements:

(A)Before the program grants green business certification or its equivalent, the program conducts an evaluation to verify compliance with the appropriate green business certification standards adopted pursuant to paragraph (2).

(B)A green business certification or its equivalent is granted only to an individual location of a small business.

(C)A green business certification or its equivalent is granted to an individual small business only for a limited time period, and, after the elapse of that time period, the small business is required to reapply for that certification.

(D)Compliance with applicable federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations is required as a condition of receiving a green business certification or its equivalent.

(d)The department may determine, in consultation with the advisory committee, the most effective methods to promote implementation of pollution prevention education programs by CUPAs, small business development corporations, business environmental assistance centers, and other regional and local government environmental programs. Program elements may include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

(1)Sponsoring workshops, conferences, technology fairs, and other training events.

(2)Sponsoring regional training groups, such as the regional hazardous waste reduction committees.

(3)Developing and distributing educational materials, such as short descriptions of successful pollution prevention projects and materials explaining how pollution prevention has been used by businesses to achieve compliance with environmental laws enforced by local governments.

(4)Developing site review checklists, training manuals, and technical resource manuals and using those resources to train CUPAs, small business development corporations, business environmental assistance centers, and other regional and local government environmental programs.

(5)Preparing and distributing resource lists such as lists of vendors, consultants, or providers of financial assistance for pollution prevention projects.

(6)Serving as an information clearinghouse to support telephone and onsite consultants with local governments.