RELEASE: Legislation to Protect California from Sea-Level Rise Passes First Committee

AB 67 & AB 72 Will Cut Unnecessary Green Tape and Safeguard the Coast

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – With broad support from environmental groups, two coastal protection bills authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris have passed unanimously out of the Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources. AB 67 – The 2021 Sea-Level Rise Preparedness Act – will ensure all state agencies conduct a standard, robust sea-level rise analysis before investing in infrastructure projects along the coast. AB 72 – The 2021 Coastal Adaptation Permitting Act – will rationalize the regulatory approval process for critical coastal adaptation projects.
“The climate crisis represents an existential threat to California’s coastal communities,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “As we work to achieve our state’s ambitious climate goals, we must also safeguard California – developing strategies to adapt to climate change and strategies to mitigate the impacts.”
The California coast is increasingly at risk from the threat of sea-level rise. Scientists project that if greenhouse gas emissions stay on their current course, California will see a foot increase along our coast by 2030, nearly a 3-foot increase by 2050 and over a 7-foot increase by the end of this century. In California’s coastal communities, millions of people and billions of dollars of infrastructure are threatened. AB 67 will ensure that state agencies approve projects that are resilient in order to protect taxpayer dollars from going to waste.
“The next decade is critical for the state to act and plan for changes along California’s coast, before more extreme and more expensive solutions are the only option,” said AB 67 Sponsor Kaitlyn Kalua, Policy Manager for California Coastkeeper Alliance. “California Coastkeeper Alliance is proud to partner with Assemblymember Petrie-Norris to ensure the state is a responsible steward of public funds, and to ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted on new infrastructure projects that will be underwater within the lifetime of that project.”
Scientists have determined that coastal adaptation initiatives are one of the most promising strategies to combat sea-level rise. Currently, such coastal adaptation efforts face many challenges including high cost, lack of available resources and an extremely complicated approval process that can last as long as months or even years. AB 72 would direct the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to evaluate and implement a more coordinated and efficient regulatory review process for coastal adaptation projects, and report to the Legislature on suggestions for improvement by July 1, 2023.
“AB 72 sensibly connects both the state’s own recommendations for sea level rise planning with the Natural Resource Agency’s ‘Cutting Green Tape’ initiative in a way that offers hope for local governments, frontline communities and all those who depend on preserving a healthy California coast and coastal economy,” said Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager for Surfrider Foundation. 
AB 67 is supported by a broad coalition including California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network, California State Parks Foundation, California Watershed Network, Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, Greenbelt Alliance, Humboldt Baykeeper, Inland Empire Waterkeeper, League of Women Voters of California, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Monterey Coastkeeper, Orange County Coastkeeper, Russian Riverkeeper, San Diego Coastkeeper, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Sierra Club California, Surfrider Foundation, the Trust for Public Land, Union of Concerned Scientists and, Yuba River Waterkeeper.
AB 72 is supported by the California Environmental Justice League, East Bay Park District and Surfrider Foundation. 
These bills will be heard later this Spring in the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.