Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1512 Off-highway vehicular recreation: Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area: Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) To support the global effort to combat the biodiversity and climate crises, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order No. N-82-20 establishes a goal of the state to conserve at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. The executive order directs the Natural Resources Agency, along with other relevant state agencies, in consultation with the California Biodiversity Collaborative, to develop and report strategies to the Governor no later than February 1, 2022, to achieve this goal in a manner that:
(1) Protects and restores biodiversity.
(2) Enables enduring conservation measures on a broad range of landscapes, including natural areas and working lands, in partnership with land managers and natural resource user groups.
(3) Expands equitable outdoor access and recreation for all Californians.
(b) To advance efforts to conserve biodiversity, the Natural Resources Agency is directed pursuant to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order No. N-82-20 to take the following actions within existing authority and resources:
(1) Strategically prioritize investments in cooperative, high-priority actions that promote biodiversity protection, habitat restoration, wildfire-resilient, sustainably managed landscapes, and other conservation outcomes.
(2) Implement actions to increase the pace and scale of environmental restoration and land management efforts by streamlining the state’s process to approve and facilitate these projects.
(3) Collaborate with federal and state research institutions to utilize innovative scientific observation technology and with tribal partners to incorporate tribal expertise and traditional ecological knowledge to better understand our biodiversity and threats it faces.
(c) On January 12, 2021, a court ruling on a petition by the County of Alameda challenging the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area environmental impact report and general plan, which included opening the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area to off-highway vehicle recreation, found that the environmental impact report and general plan violated the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code) and ordered that the environmental impact report and general plan be set aside and that the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division can use moneys from the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund for conservation and nonmotorized recreation, including to preserve the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area.
(d) Specifically, the court said, “The Court, exercising its independent judgment with regard to Respondents’ statutory interpretation finds Respondents have failed to proceed in the manner required by law. Paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 5090.02 of the Public Resources Code directs Respondents to support both motorized recreation and motorized off-highway access to nonmotorized recreation.”
(e) The court also said the “statute does not mandate Respondents to prioritize OHV [off-highway vehicle] use, but rather directs Respondents to strike a balance to support both activities. Respondents have not cited to any authority that prohibits them from adding acreage to an existing SVRA [state vehicular recreation area] without including OHV recreation opportunities on the newly acquired acreage or, considering the Carnegie SVRA as a whole, utilizing the additional acreage with a reduced use alternative.”
(f) Furthermore, the court said, “Clearly, in the present circumstances OHV recreation opportunities are already available in the Carnegie SVRA, therefore if the [Alameda-Tesla] Expansion Area includes solely off-highway motorized access to nonmotorized recreation (or, more likely, minimal OHV recreation as was presented in the reduced use alternative) the Carnegie SVRA as a whole complies with the legislative intent concerning SVRAs.”
(g) The Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area hosts highly sensitive, biologically diverse, and irreplaceable natural, cultural, and historical resources, including rare, threatened, and endangered wildlife and plant species, designated critical habitats, sensitive vegetation communities and unusual vegetation assemblages, a critical habitat corridor along the Diablo Range, Native American archeologic and sacred ceremonial sites, and the historic Tesla town site. These resources could be irreparably damaged by off-highway vehicle recreation.
(h) The location of the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area in eastern Alameda County makes it particularly accessible for large urban communities and underserved populations in the region.
(i) It is the intent of the Legislature to preserve the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area for conservation purposes and as a resource for nonmotorized recreation.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5090.42 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

 (a) For purposes of this section, “land” means the land known as the “Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area,” which encompasses approximately 3,100 acres in the County of Alameda and is currently part of Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area.
(b) The department shall preserve, in perpetuity, the land for conservation purposes, including for nonmotorized public recreation, consistent with Sections 5019.71 and 5019.74.
(c) The department shall work with other entities to have nine million dollars ($9,000,000) appropriated, donated, or transferred to the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund, established pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 38225 of the Vehicle Code, by January 1, 2025.