Governor Brown released a summary of his proposed 2014-2015 budget this week, including details on proposed environmental protection and natural resources spending. The Governor’s budget provides $3.6 billion in funding for the California Environmental Protection Agency, including $3.1 billion in State funds and $54 million from the General Fund. Proposed funding of CalEPA programs include:
- $850 million from cap and trade auctions for programs that promote greenhouse gas reductions and invest in disadvantaged communities most impacted by climate change, in accordance with SB 535. Of the $850 million, the largest portion – $600 million would fund rail modernization, low carbon transportation, and sustainable community strategies. $140 million is proposed for energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives and projects. $110 million would go to natural resources and waste diversion.
- $1 billion for the State Water Resources Control Board and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The Governor highlighted funds proposed to improve the Drinking Water Program, the Water Action Plan to more effectively manage groundwater and improve drinking water in disadvantaged communities, and the enforcement of marijuana cultivation laws that affect water quality and endangered species habitat.
- $1.5 billion for the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Expect major changes in the Beverage Container Recycling Fund, including phasing out processing fee subsidies. The full cost of recycling would instead be borne by manufacturers.
- $21.6 million to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, including proposed Proposition 65 reform.
Proposed funding for the Natural Resources Agency, and its 26 departments, boards, commissions, and conservancies, totals $8.3 billion. $4.6 billion of the proposed Natural Resources Agency budget comes from State funds, with $2.2 billion from the General Fund.
- $618.7 million is proposed to begin implementing the State’s Water Action Plan, including actions to expand surface and groundwater storage capacity, ensure safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities, implement water conservation projects, increase flood protection, and help restore the Salton Sea, wetlands, and coastal watersheds.
- $404 million to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, including for two new programs – an Oil Spill Response Program and enforcement of marijuana cultivation-related violations.
- $655 million for the Department of Parks and Recreation, including one-time funding to once again prevent park closures.
The Governor will issue a revised budget by mid-May 2014. The California Legislature must approve the State budget by June 15, 2014.