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AB-2525 Conservation of public lands: unlawful cannabis cultivation: mitigation and enforcement.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/23/2018 04:00 AM
AB2525:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2525


Introduced by Assembly Member Wood

February 14, 2018


An act to amend Section 4113 of the Public Resources Code, amend Section 12029 of, and to add Chapter 6.2 (commencing with Section 1630) of Division 2 to, the Fish and Game Code, relating to forestry. conservation of public lands.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2525, as amended, Wood. Supervising forest officers: firefighting system. Conservation of public lands: unlawful cannabis cultivation: mitigation and enforcement.
Existing law establishes the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the Natural Resources Agency and makes the Department of Fish and Wildlife the trustee for fish and wildlife resources of the state. Existing law prohibits a person or other entity from diverting or obstructing the natural flow of any river, stream, or lake, without first notifying the department and, if necessary, entering into a lake or streambed alteration agreement. Existing law requires the department to establish a watershed enforcement program to facilitate the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of unlawful water diversions and other violations of the Fish and Game Code associated with cannabis cultivation. Existing law requires the department, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Food and Agriculture, to establish a multiagency task force, known as the Watershed Enforcement Team, to address the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation.
Existing law establishes the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Natural Resources Agency and requires the Director of Parks and Recreation, among other things, to promote and regulate the use of the state park system in a manner that conserves the scenery, natural and historic resources, and wildlife in units of the state park system for the enjoyment of future generations.
This bill would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to collaborate with the Department of Parks and Recreation to conduct an annual survey of all public lands, as defined, and all surface water sources on public lands, for unlawful cannabis cultivation activity; to compile a database of unlawful cannabis cultivation activity occurring on public lands; and to ensure that this activity is eradicated by the Watershed Enforcement Team or other appropriate authority. The bill would require the Watershed Enforcement Team to prioritize the eradication of unlawful cannabis cultivation described in these provisions.
The bill would require the Natural Resources Agency to establish a program to restore public lands damaged by unlawful cannabis cultivation activity. The bill would create the Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Fund in the State Treasury. The bill would provide for moneys in the fund to be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to protect and restore public lands damaged by unlawful cannabis cultivation activity, including through the above-described activities.

Existing law requires supervising forest officers, under the direction of the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection, to have charge of the firefighting system and men and women in the districts, and to be charged with the duty of preventing and extinguishing forest fires and with the performance of other duties as may be required by the director.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to this law.

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

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


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 6.2 (commencing with Section 1630) is added to Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code, to read:
CHAPTER  6.2. Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Act

1630.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Act, or the PLCE Act.

1631.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Public lands” means lands owned by, or under the jurisdiction of, the federal, state, or a local government.
(b) “Qualified nonprofit organization” means a nonprofit organization with experience in environmental cleanup and restoration.

1632.
 In order to protect public lands from unlawful cannabis cultivation activity, the department shall collaborate with the Department of Parks and Recreation to do all of the following:
(a) Conduct, during outdoor cannabis cultivation season, an annual survey of all public lands, and all surface water sources on public lands, for unlawful cannabis cultivation activity.
(b) (1) Compile a database of unlawful cannabis cultivation activity identified in surveys conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) or otherwise known to be occurring on public lands.
(2) The database compiled pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include, for each unlawful cannabis cultivation site, the date of discovery, location, approximate size, and current status of the site.
(c) Ensure that unlawful cannabis cultivation activity described in subdivision (b) is eradicated by the multiagency task force established pursuant to Section 12029 or other appropriate authority.

1633.
 (a) The Natural Resources Agency shall establish a program to restore public lands damaged by unlawful cannabis cultivation activity described in subdivision (b) of Section 1632.
(b) To carry out restoration activities under the program established pursuant to subdivision (a), the Natural Resources Agency may contract with a city, county, city and county, or other local governmental entity, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of the Interior, or a qualified nonprofit organization.

1634.
 (a) The Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Fund, or the PLCE Fund, is hereby created in the State Treasury.
(b) Moneys in the PLCE Fund shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to protect and restore public lands damaged by unlawful cannabis cultivation activity, including as provided in this chapter.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the availability of other funding to carry out the purposes provided in subdivision (b).

SEC. 2.

 Section 12029 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

12029.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The environmental impacts associated with cannabis cultivation have increased, and unlawful water diversions for cannabis irrigation have a detrimental effect on fish and wildlife and their habitat, which are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the people of the state.
(2) The remediation of existing cannabis cultivation sites is often complex and the permitting of these sites requires greater department staff time and personnel expenditures. The potential for cannabis cultivation sites to significantly impact the state’s fish and wildlife resources requires immediate action on the part of the department’s lake and streambed alteration permitting staff.
(b) In order to address unlawful water diversions and other violations of the Fish and Game Code associated with cannabis cultivation, the department shall establish the watershed enforcement program to facilitate the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of these offenses.
(c) The department, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall establish a permanent multiagency task force to address the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation. The multiagency task force, to the extent feasible and subject to available resources, shall expand its enforcement efforts on a statewide level to ensure the reduction of adverse impacts of cannabis cultivation on fish and wildlife and their habitats throughout the state. The multiagency task force shall prioritize the eradication of unlawful cannabis cultivation activity described in subdivision (b) of Section 1632.
(d) In order to facilitate the remediation and permitting of cannabis cultivation sites, the department may adopt regulations to enhance the fees on any entity subject to Section 1602 for cannabis cultivation sites that require remediation. The fee schedule established pursuant to this subdivision shall not exceed the fee limits in Section 1609.

SECTION 1.Section 4113 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
4113.

The supervising forest officers shall, under the direction of the director, have charge of the firefighting system and men and women in the districts, and are charged with the duty of preventing and extinguishing forest fires and with the performance of other duties as may be required by the director.