Legislative Update on SB 1270 and 1259

The Sierra Fund is supporting two bills authored by Senator Fran Pavley in the current legislative session, SB 1270 and  SB 1259.

SB 1270 (Pavley), the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) Reform Act of 2014 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee without enough votes to muster passage, making the bill essentially dead for the year.  SB 1270 would have strengthened the State of California’s ability to support enforcement of the State’s mining law, including requiring that mandated annual mine inspections by local governments actually take place.  Despite taking amendments offered by local government they remained opposed to the bill.  The mining industry also took an oppose position.

SB 1259 (Pavley) Sedimentation Studies has moved to the floor of the Senate after unanimously passing both the Appropriations and Natural Resources Committees.  This bill requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to gather data to study the loss of storage capacity behind California dams resulting from sedimentation.  The bill requires that the initial study be completed by January 2017.

The author, Senator Pavley, notes that “Studies indicated that California’s reservoirs have lost a significant amount of storage capacity due to sedimentation.  Restoring that storage capacity could greatly increase the state’s ability to store water; potentially by millions of acre-feet. Unfortunately, we don’t have sufficient information to know which reservoirs are most impacted and which have the greatest potential for cost-effective sediment removal.”

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