Today's Law As Amended

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AB-30 Outdoor access to nature: environmental equity.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The biodiversity of the State of California is comprised of the plants and animals, including humans, that reside within the state and its territorial waters.
(2) The state faces a biodiversity and nature crisis that scientists say we must address with urgency.
(3) Nature, like the climate, is nearing a tipping point where the continued loss and degradation of the natural environment will push many ecosystems and wildlife species past the point of no return, threaten the health and economic prosperity of the State of California and the United States, and increase the costs of natural disasters.
(4) Before European contact with the American continents, tribal nations, Native American tribes, and tribal entities managed and stewarded the state’s terrestrial and marine resources using traditional ecological knowledge and a wide array of traditional practices and techniques to maintain an environment capable of supporting large, thriving human, plant, and animal populations. Today, tribes continue to use these practices, which vary from tribe to tribe, but are generally focused on ecosystem interconnectivity, respecting the carrying capacity of the land, and viewing humans as an integral part of the environment. Tribal methods of protecting and managing the land are an essential and fundamental part of a concerted effort to successfully rebalance the climate and restore biodiversity.
(5) Access to nature and the benefits of nature are essential to the health, well-being, identity, culture, and economic prosperity of the state.
(6) Loss of nature and lack of access to nature disproportionately negatively affects people of color, especially people of color living in disadvantaged communities. Research shows that communities of color are three times more likely than White communities to live in nature-deprived areas and that 70 percent of low-income communities live in nature-deprived areas.
(7) Level of concern for things like loss of habitat for fish and wildlife, inadequate water supplies, pollution in the air and water, the loss of pollinators, uncontrollable wildfires, and climate are of increasing concern to many communities across California but especially to communities of color and disadvantaged communities. Communities of color and disadvantaged communities are highly concerned about the future of nature, water, air, and wildlife.
(8) The state should protect land, air, water, ocean, and wildlife in the state as necessary to prevent the further decline of nature and to ensure that all Californians have access to nature and a healthy environment.
(b) With respect to the implementation of this act, it is the intent of the Legislature that the state provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races, cultures, incomes, and national origins. This includes soliciting, accounting for, and responding to the voices, needs, and priorities of communities of color, indigenous communities, and economically disadvantaged communities.

SEC. 2.

 Section 12804.6 is added to the Government Code, to read:

 (a) All of the following is hereby declared to be the established policy of the state:
(1) That access to nature and access to the benefits of nature is a human right.
(2) That every human has the right to safe and affordable outdoor access and that the benefits of nature are an essential part of the public health and well-being, identity, culture, and economic prosperity of the people of the State of California. This right extends to all people in the state, especially those who have historically lacked access to these resources and live in nature-deprived areas. When implementing this policy, the state shall prioritize the voices, needs, and priorities of communities of color, indigenous communities, and economically disadvantaged communities.
(b) All relevant state agencies, including the Natural Resources Agency, state departments, including the Department of Transportation, and their respective departments, boards, and commissions shall incorporate this state policy when revising, adopting, or establishing policies, regulations, and grant criteria, or making expenditures, to the extent not in conflict with an appropriation, pertinent to the uses of outdoor access to nature described in subdivision (a).