SB 1268: Cleaner Air Through Improved Conservation of Natural Resources

February 21, 2014


SACRAMENTO – A proposal to increase the Cap and Trade program’s effectiveness to reduce greenhouse gases by exploiting nature’s ability to cleanse the air was introduced today by Senator Jim Beall.

“The primary focus on greenhouse gas reduction has been on vehicles and smoke-stack power plants and industries,’’ said Beall, D-San Jose. “But many people overlook the benefits of natural resources, such as our forests and wetlands, and how they can pull those emissions out of the atmosphere.’’

Senate Bill 1268 would establish the Natural Resources Climate Improvement Program to prioritize, coordinate, develop, and carry out projects that will greatly reduce greenhouse gases through improved natural resources management. The program will be created by the California Air Resources Board and the Natural Resources Agency. The bill also calls for state conservancies and the Wildlife Conservation Board to help identify worthwhile projects at the regional and local levels. To ensure the passage of this critical measure, Beall is working with Assemblymember Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, who has introduced identical legislation – AB 2348 -- in the Assembly.

“SB 1268’s approach goes beyond avoiding the production of more greenhouse gases,’’ Beall said. “It’s actually about removing existing carbon dioxide from the air through the better management of natural resources – such as preserving, protecting, and restoring our wetlands and forests or planting more trees in urban settings. It can help fund and promote efforts by public and private landowners’ to better manage their lands to clean the air we breathe.

“The bill also addresses a loophole in the state’s strategy to combat climate-changing emissions. Currently, there is no program at the state level that considers and coordinates natural resources conservancy projects with a focus on greenhouse gases. The proposed Natural Resources Climate Improvement Program will fill that void.’’