Bill supports role of farms, parks, other open spaces in state’s climate change goals
On a bipartisan, 7-1 vote late Monday, the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources approved a measure by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to promote the protection and management of natural and working lands as part of California’s ongoing efforts to meet its climate change goals.
“From farms to rangelands, wetlands to parks, California’s natural and working lands have the potential to store considerable amounts of carbon,” Wolk said. “SB 1386 will reinforce that investment in these lands’ management is a key strategy in meeting the California’s ongoing efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”
Wolk’s Senate Bill 1386 declares it to be state policy that protecting and managing natural and working lands is key to meeting California’s climate change goals. The bill also directs all relevant state agencies to consider this policy when conducting their work.
Natural and working lands—which include forests, farms, rangelands, wetlands, parks and other open spaces—are unique in that they can actively remove carbon from the air and store, or sequester, that carbon in in plants and trees, roots, and other organic materials in the soil.
“The protection and restoration of California’s natural and working lands is a key strategy to meet our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Kim Delfino, California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife, which is sponsoring SB 1386. “SB 1386 codifies this important premise and would help ensure appropriate investments in our natural and working lands.”
SB 1386 will also support the many other benefits provided by natural and working lands, which produce food and fiber, improve air and water quality, and provide wildlife habitat, flood protection, and recreational and economic opportunities.
The bill’s other supporters include Audubon California, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, California Alliance with Family Farmers, California Central Valley Flood Control Association, California Climate & Agriculture Network, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club California, Sierra Business Council, and Yolo County Board of Supervisors. The bill will next be heard in the State Assembly Committee on Appropriations.