Gov. Newsom To Veto Bill Meant Help Block Environmental Rollbacks

A senate bill (SB 1) that passed on the state senate legislature, but has been vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The bill’s basic premise was to potentially block environmental rollbacks of the Trump Administration as the battle for California’s water rights rages on and conservationists worry about the longterm sustainability for salmon and other endangered species.

Here’s more from Bloomberg about Newsom’s reasoning behind the rejection of the bill:

“I fully support the principles behind Senate Bill 1: to defeat efforts by the President and Congress to undermine vital federal protections that protect clean air, clean water and endangered species,” Newsom said in an emailed statement on Saturday. The bill “does not, however, provide the state with any new authority to push back against the Trump Administration’s environmental policies and it limits the state’s ability to rely upon the best available science to protect our environment.”

Here’s a statement from the SB1 Coalition, made up of several conservation and advocacy groups:

SACRAMENTO--Governor Newsom issued an announcement yesterday rejecting Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act.

The bill, authored by Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, would ensure California’s authority to preserve our clean air, clean water, biodiversity and safe workplaces in the face of unprecedented threats and rollbacks from the Trump administration. The bill is backed by a broad coalition of environmental, environmental justice, health, business, labor, and fishing groups.

SB 1 passed both houses of the legislature in the early morning hours of September 14 by wide margins.

The bill was opposed by some powerful agricultural interests and certain water agencies who helped develop Trump rollbacks of federal regulations protecting endangered species.  The opponents of the bill have been particularly focused on a provision of SB1 that would simply require the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), controlled by the Trump administration, to comply with state laws protecting endangered species.  In the past, State Administrations of both parties have insisted that the CVP is held to the same legal standards as every other water user in the state. The provision in SB 1 would have codified what has been the policy in practice and ensured fairness for all of us who need water.

To pressure the governor to veto the bill, SB 1 opponents threatened to walk out of unrelated ongoing voluntary agreement discussions about standards for water flowing into the California Bay Delta ecosystem.  

Statement of SB 1 Coalition Regarding Governor’s Announcement:

The Governor’s announcement is disappointing.

“By rejecting SB 1 to satisfy the bill’s narrowly focused opponents, he is discarding protections that SB 1 would have provided for endangered species, air quality, water quality and worker safety.

“The Governor’s action also leaves us deeply concerned about the fate of California’s most vulnerable species and the future of our salmon industry.

“The next few months will test the state’s authority. The ‘Voluntary Agreements’ will now be analyzed by all as to whether they meet the standard for threatened fisheries.  We’re committed to protecting California’s natural resources and communities.”

The coaltion features the following groups:

Natural Resources Defense Council * Defenders of Wildlife  

Sierra Club California * Golden Gate Salmon Association 

California Coastkeeper Alliance * Audubon California

The Nature Conservancy * The Bay Institute * San Francisco Baykeeper 

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations  

Environment California * Coastside Fishing Club * NextGen California

Some reaction on social media: