The drive for environmental sustainability is changing the global landscape. Declining resources, increasing access to information and demands for transparency, rising consumer and government expectations and intensifying competition mean the rules of the game have changed.
California has a long history of enacting innovative environmental policies, with Silicon Valley serving as the standard-bearer in the quest to develop the programs and technologies necessary to help overcome our most pressing environmental challenges. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is proud to work at this intersection of innovation and policy – helping foster solutions that benefit our region, state and nation. Our top policy priorities are the climate crisis, water supply reliability, and rising waters.
2020 Victory for Measure S: Safe, Clean Water for Santa Clara County
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group thanks the voters of Santa Clara County for casting their ballots in the November 2020 election and supporting Measure S by a nearly three-to-one margin (~75% voting Yes). The successful passage of Measure S means that citizens and businesses in Santa Clara County will maintain and increase their access to a reliable, local clean drinking water supply and continue to be protected from rising seas, all without raising taxes.
In partnership with a broad coalition of labor and environmental organizations and local community leaders, the members of the Leadership Group stepped up to endorse Measure S and support the successful measure with significant resources. This work builds on our past efforts to advance water supply reliability and infrastructure modernization for Silicon Valley, including Measure B in 2012 — the predecessor to Measure S.
We look forward to collaborating with our local water district, Valley Water, to further clean drinking water access to all, and responsibly managing Measure S funding for crucial infrastructure projects, while ensuring strong and effective governance and oversight of said funds.
2020 SB 54/AB 1080: California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act
The Leadership Group collaborated with a broad-based statewide coalition to stop problematic and harmful legislation dealing with single-use products and packaging. SB 54 and AB 1080 and their authors had the right intentions in seeking to address pollution of our environment, but the bills contained provisions and lacked a funding mechanism that could fairly and effectively solve this problem. We engaged our Bay Area legislative delegation to stop the passage of SB 54/AB 1080 to the Governor’s desk, and succeeded, with the hope for additional discussion and deliberation about the right proposal in the next legislative session.
2018 Proposition 68: Clean Water and Safe Parks Act
The Leadership Group supported this successful bond on the 2018 June ballot. Prop. 68 leverages $4.1 billion to support California’s myriad water, natural resource, and park needs. Prop. 68 bond monies will help fund key Leadership Group priorities, including $20 million to support SF Baylands restoration, $450 million to help ensure safe drinking water, $550 million to protect communities from flooding, and $180 million to increase water supplies with groundwater cleanup and water recycling.
2018 AB 1889: Santa Clara Valley Water District
AB 1889 amended the Santa Clara Valley Water District Act to verify parcel tax exemption for low-income seniors and low-incomes disabled persons only once, have Board vacancies filled by electors residing in the vacant district, and increase days Directors are eligible for renumeration from 10 to 20.
2018 AB 1668: Water Management Planning
Conjoined bills AB 1668 and SB 606 updated Urban Water Management Plans, and implemented permanent water efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor residential water use, and commercial water use.
2017 AB 398 Cap-and-Trade
Longstanding supporters of California’s cap-and-trade program, the Leadership Group worked closely with state legislators, the Brown Administration, and other key stakeholders to help secure a 2/3, bipartisan vote to extend the cap-and-trade program through 2030. Cap-and-trade helps provide market certainty for the clean energy economy to flourish. Additionally, the program serves as a model to other states, the federal government, and other countries, and maintains California’s commitment to greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
2016 Measure AA
The Leadership Group joined forces with other Bay Area organizations, Senator Feinstein, and environmental and community leaders to help pass Measure AA. The Bay Area’s first ever nine-county measure, Measure AA provides critical resources to restore wetlands, improve water quality for wildlife habitat, and protect communities from flooding across the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the Leadership Group’s sponsorship and active support, Measure AA received over 70% vote through all Bay Area counties, and will help preserve and restore the San Francisco Bay for future generations of Bay Area residents.
2016 SB 32 and AB 197
The Leadership Group, the first business association to support AB 32 in 2006, maintained its climate and clean energy leadership by supporting SB 32 and AB 197 in 2016. SB 32 builds on existing policies to set a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. AB 197 ensures that that there is equity in the state’s climate programs to guarantee all Californians benefit from cleaner, healthier air. These legislative bills work in tandem to provide California businesses with regulatory certainty, improve public health, and strengthen the clean energy economy.
2014 State Water Bond
The 2014 Water Bond provides $7.5 billion to address California’s aging water infrastructure. Water reliability is important for businesses and the Silicon Valley region. The Leadership Group was proud to support Proposition 1, a bond that funds urgent improvements in watershed protection and restoration, surface and groundwater storage, and drinking water protection, to safeguard water resources for the state.
2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
The Leadership Group supported for this legislation, which responded to one of the worst droughts on record with foresight and a commitment to innovation. The SGMA requires California’s critical groundwater resources be sustainably managed by local agencies, including cities, counties, and water districts, with a goal to have sustainable groundwater management by 2042.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Environment Policy team advocate for local, county, and state education legislation and ballot measures based on the decisions of its Environment Committee, Working Council, and Board of Directors. Both bills and ballot measures are presented to these committees for discussion and voting.
H.R. 763 (Deutch, D-FL) – Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019
This bill imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The fee is imposed on the producers or importers of the fuels and is equal to the greenhouse gas content of the fuel multiplied by the carbon fee rate. The rate begins at $15 in 2019, increases by $10 each year, and is subject to further adjustments based on the progress in meeting specified emissions reduction targets. The bill also imposes a specified fee on fluorinated greenhouse gases.
The bill includes
– exemptions for fuels used for agricultural or nonemitting purposes,
– exemptions for fuels used by the Armed Forces,
– rebates for facilities that capture and sequester carbon dioxide, and
– border adjustment provisions that require certain fees or refunds for carbon-intensive products that are exported or imported.
The fees must be deposited into a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund and used for administrative expenses and dividend payments to U.S. citizens or lawful residents. The fees must be decommissioned when emissions levels and monthly dividend payments fall below specified levels.
The bill also suspends certain regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions. The suspensions expire if the emissions targets established by this bill are not reached after a specified time period.
SB 200 (Monning, Bloom, E. Garcia) – Safe Drinking Water for All Act
This bill creates the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, into which General Fund and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) appropriations will be made annually for clean water programs and projects. SB 200 also establishes regulations for operating the Fund.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group supported SB 200, though with reservations about the use of GGRF monies as a funding source.
Newsom Administration and a New Delta Conveyance Project
The Leadership Group has re-engaged with Californians for Water Security (CWS), a coalition of dozens of organizations representing labor, business, public safety, minority advocates, environmental organizations and others that all support Governor Newsom’s single tunnel plan to modernize our statewide water conveyance system. We are in strong support of a renewed plan to fix California’s aging water distribution system that brings water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, to more than 2/3 of California’s homes, farms and businesses. For more information, see a CWS coalition letter to the Governor here.
Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) took an important step forward on October 17, 2017 to support the CA WaterFix project. In a 7-0 vote, SCVWD approved conditional participation in a smaller WaterFix project based on seven guiding principles. In the week leading up to the vote, the Leadership Group facilitated a key meeting between Governor Brown, Secretary Laird, SCVWD Chair Varela and Vice Chair Santos, and 20 Silicon Valley CEOs. This compromise will allow SCVWD to remain at the table in a serious investigation about the best way to upgrade the state’s water infrastructure—an important step to secure water for the region.
Support in Concept Bills:
AB 1184 (Ting): AB 1184 would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to identify $3 billion for a new up-front, point-of-sale electric vehicle rebate to deploy 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2025.
Support in Concept motion asks for:
- Clarification that AB 1184 include funding and/or does not crowd out funding for:
- Zero- and low-carbon transportation incentive programs
- Non-light duty low- and zero-emission incentive program
- Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle
- Removal of the 2023 sunset date for the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) rebate and tying the phase-down of incentives to market penetration
- Directing CARB to identify what is fair for evaluating incentives for PHEVs and pure zero emission vehicles.
Environment Committee Meetings
Member-only committee meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of every month from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at a rotating member company location.
The agenda typically includes:
- Speaker presentations from external non-profits, agencies, and stakeholders
- Informative briefings about Leadership Group policy advocacy
- Policy and regulatory discussion and action items
To learn more about joining the committee please contact Mike Mielke at [email protected].
Chair: Courtney Lorenz, Sustainability Manager, XL Construction
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