AB 72 Will Expand Projects to Combat Sea-Level Rise
SACRAMENTO – In an effort to protect the California Coast, the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee unanimously passed AB 72 authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. AB 72, the Coastal Adaptation Permitting Act of 2021, cuts green tape by establishing a coordinated and efficient process for coastal adaptation permitting.
“Scientists across our state are equipped with innovative, nature-based solutions to protect our coast from sea-level rise but unnecessary green tape often stands in their way,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “We must identify solutions to clear the path for coastal adaptation projects that will protect our economy, our communities and our environment for years to come.”
These coastal adaptation initiatives are one of the most promising strategies to combat the threat of sea-level rise, according to scientists. Some of these initiatives include: replacing shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishments, planting vegetation, etc., creating and rehabilitating tidal marshes to buffer increasing tides, and using natural breakwaters of oysters to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines.
“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.
Coastal adaptation projects that may only take weeks or months to implement often require a year-long permitting process. The state’s environmental permitting system is designed to protect valuable public trust resources, which is of paramount importance. However, the current protracted and uncoordinated review process is causing unnecessary delays for valuable coastal adaptation projects and hindering innovative approaches.
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.