California Set to Become a Leader on Trash Pollution

undefinedCalifornia is renowned for its iconic beaches, coast, rivers, and bays, bringing over 50 million beachgoers to the shoreline every year. However, trash is accumulating in California’s waters and on its beaches at an alarming rate.  Too many waters throughout the state are so clogged with trash that they are unfit for swimming, fishing and other uses.  Both the problem and solution reside on land.  The vast majority of trash that ends up in the ocean travels from stormwater drains to rivers and streams.  However, California has no statewide plan for how local governments should prevent trash pollution flowing into waterways. 

Over the past three years, California Coastkeeper Alliance has been advising the State Water Board on the development of a statewide Trash Policy. On April 7th, the State Water Board is set to adopt its proposed Trash Policy, declaring a statewide goal of no trash in California’s coastal waters, bays, rivers, streams and lakes. The Policy will be a critical improvement to preventing trash from reaching California's waters, and serve as a national model to attain trash free waterways . While some charged with implementing the new plan are pressuring the State Board to weaken provisions and make the Trash Policy difficult to enforce, many business, environmental groups, and state leaders are voicing their support for the adoption of measures that promise to truly reduce trash pollution in California. On April 7th, the California Coastkeeper Alliance, supported by a diverse coalition of allies, will urge the State Water Board to adopt a Trash Policy that requires a clear, straightforward path to compliance that holds each city and county responsible for achieving high, uniform standards.

For a more detailed description of the Trash Policy, read CCKA’s briefer.

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Gearing Up for 2015 Legislation

undefinedCCKA is gearing up for its legislative advocacy in 2015, which will largely involve Water Bond implementation, the drought response, and legislation aimed at promoting more sustainable water supplies.  The drought and the Water Bond provides an opportunity for CCKA to advocate for sustainable water supply policies, but will also require CCKA to watchdog the potential rollback of regulations to allow impulsive unsustainable water supply projects, like surface storage and ocean desalination.  CCKA will be particularly focused on exploring the possibility to provide an incentive for local water districts to prioritize sustainable water supplies based on embedded energy.  By prioritizing sustainable water supplies, California will not only be creating local, drought resistant water supplies, but will also be implementing a climate change mitigation strategy as a dis-incentive for energy intensive water supplies. 

CCKA will also be supporting other mission critical issues, including: additional groundwater reforms, reducing trash pollution at its source, and promoting water recycling over ocean desalination.  Following 2014 reform, CCKA will be watchdogging any attempt to weaken California’s new groundwater laws, while supporting legislation to improve access to data on groundwater use.  CCKA will also be defending the recently passed statewide bag ban, while additionally supporting legislation to reduce plastic at its source - like microbeads.  Finally, CCKA will be preventing any legislation that would streamline ocean desalination permitting, and instead, advocate for California to develop more drinkable recycled water. 

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