Bill Text

Bill Information


PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-21 Forestry: electrical transmission and distribution lines: clearance: penalties.(2021-2022)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 04/05/2021 09:00 PM
AB21:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 05, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 21


Introduced by Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Robert Rivas)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chiu, Grayson, Petrie-Norris, Stone, and Wicks)
(Coauthors: Senators Limón and Wiener)

December 07, 2020


An act to add Section 4293.5 to the public Resource Public Resources Code, relating to forestry.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 21, as amended, Bauer-Kahan. Forestry: electrical transmission and distribution lines: clearance: penalties.
Existing law requires a person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line upon any mountainous land or forest-covered land, brush-covered land, or grass-covered land to maintain around and adjacent to any pole or tower that supports a switch, fuse, transformer, lightning arrester, line junction, or dead-end or corner pole a firebreak, as specified. Existing law requires a person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line upon any mountainous land or in forest-covered land, brush-covered land, or grass-covered land to maintain a clearance between all vegetation and all conductors that are carrying electric current, as specified.
This bill would impose a civil penalty of up to $100,000 for each violation of the above-described provisions. provisions after the person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line is offered a reasonable opportunity to cure. The bill would impose an additional civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each acre burned by a fire resulting from a violation of the above-described provisions. provisions after the person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line is offered a reasonable opportunity to cure. The bill would require 50% of the penalties collected to be deposited into the Utility Accountability and Wildfire Prevention Fund, which the bill would establish in the State Treasury, and would distributed the remaining 50%, as provided. The bill would provide that the moneys in the Utility Accountability and Wildfire Prevention Fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, are available for purposes of enhancing forest management, fire planning, wildfire prevention and suppression, and fire-related enforcement activities. The bill would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop regulations to define what a reasonable opportunity to cure means for the above-described purposes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Utility Accountability and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2021.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4293.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4293.5.
 (a) A person who that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line and that violates Section 4292 or 4293 after being offered a reasonable opportunity to cure is subject to a civil penalty of up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each violation. When a violation is of a continuing nature, each day of the violation is a separate and distinct violation.
(b) In addition to any other penalties, including the penalty specified in subdivision (a), a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) per acre of land burned shall be imposed for a violation of Section 4292 or 4293 that results in which the person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any electrical transmission or distribution line failed to cure the violation after being offered a reasonable opportunity to cure and the violation resulted in a fire.
(c) Except as otherwise provided, the remedies and penalties provided by this section are cumulative with the remedies or penalties available under other laws.
(d) The Attorney General or the district attorney of a proper county or city and county may bring an action under to this section, in the name of the people. For purposes of this subdivision, “proper county or city and county” means a county or city and county where the violation occurred or, if the violation resulted in a fire, where the fire, or any portion of it, occurred.
(e) Monies Moneys resulting from the collection of penalties imposed under this section shall be apportioned as follow: follows:
(1) Fifty percent shall be distributed as set forth in subdivision (c) of Section 17206 of the Business and Professions Code. Any penalties distributed to a county or city shall only be used for fire prevention-related activities.
(2) Fifty percent shall be deposited into the Utility Accountability and Wildfire Prevention Fund, which is hereby established in the State Treasury. Moneys in the fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall be available for purposes of enhancing forest management, fire planning, wildfire prevention and suppression, and fire-related enforcement activities.
(f) In determining the amount of a civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section, the court shall take into consideration all relevant circumstances, including the extent of harm caused by the violation, whether the effects of the violation may be mitigated, and with respect to the defendant, any prior history of violations and the gravity of the behavior, the economic benefit, if any, resulting from the violation, and any other matters the court determines justice may require.
(g) (1) An action seeking the imposition of civil penalties under this section shall be commenced within four years of the occurrence of the violation.
(2) This section does not revive a cause of action that is barred under law on or before January 1, 2022.
(h) The department shall develop regulations to define what a reasonable opportunity to cure means for purposes of this section.