The drive for environmental sustainability is changing the global landscape. Declining resources, increasing demands for transparency and easier access to information, rising consumer and government expectations and intensifying competition mean the rules of the game have permanently 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 surmount 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 corporate environmental sustainability, water infrastructure financing, and climate change.
Meetings are open to member companies only, and the agenda typically includes:
- Speaker presentations from external non-profits, agencies, and stakeholders
- Informative briefings about SVLG policy advocacy
- Policy and regulatory discussion and action items
Participating Member Companies
Key Support: Christophe LaBelle, Associate, Environment & Energy
Executive Champion: Matt Mahan, CEO, Brigade
Partners / Affiliated Orgs: Santa Clara Valley Water District; CA Natural Resources Agency; Imagine H20; Water Foundation; Bechtel Foundation; Californians for Water Security
Priority: California is just recovering from a multi-year drought, followed by the wettest winter on record, and more recently catastrophic wildfires. Given the changing climate and the importance of the issue, it’s not surprising that water is close to the top of the list of global risk factors, and that businesses are responding to the demands of shareholders, customers, and investors for greater accountability on this material issue. Understanding and mitigating future water risk is of central importance.
Water is vital to the California economy that is subject to numerous and competing demands. It is especially important that we encourage continued innovation in and financing for the water sector, so that our economy can continue to grow as our population increases, all while we wrestle with the new normal of increasingly severe climate-induced droughts. In 2019, we will work to ensure Silicon Valley has the water it needs to thrive.
- focus on implementation of Delta Conveyance (formerly WaterFix) and help drive a project forward to the next stage
- engage on, and support new water financing (i.e. water fee)
- support water sector innovation by helping guide the implementation of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act
Zero-Emission Vehicles & EV Charging Infrastructure
Executive Champions for ZEVs and EV Charging Infrastructure:
Partners / Affiliated Orgs: EV Drive Coalition, CalETC, California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, Veloz, Advanced Energy Economy, NextGen California, National Resources Defense Council, Plug in America
Priority: In California, transportation electrification represents the largest near-term opportunity to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution to help California meet its climate and clean air goals. Our ongoing goal is to support the deployment of light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure to curb the 40% in carbon emissions generated by California’s transportation sector — the largest of any sector in California in terms of emissions.
What is the importance of such work for the innovation-economy? Deployment of ZEVs and EV charging infrastructure were among our members’ 2018 Energy and Environment priorities — SVLG took positions on ten ZEV bills and five ZEV and EV infrastructure regulatory issues. This year, SVLG has taken a “Support” position on CARB’s zero-emission airport shuttle rule, and a “Support if Amended” position on AB 40 (Ting), the Clean Cars 2040 Strategy.
ZEV policies and regulations are of importance to the Leadership Group and the Bay Area because they have a direct impact on tour members’ bottom line, including electric bus, automotive, storage, EV charging, clean energy and autonomous vehicle companies.
- Passage of federal and/or state legislation supporting or providing increased financial incentives for ZEVs and ZEV infrastructure adoption, such as reforming the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP)
- Comment in 1-2 regulatory agency proceedings affecting ZEV and EV infrastructure adoption, including CARB’s zero-emission airport shuttle rule.
Climate Change Mitigation
Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President, Environmental Programs and Policy
Key Support: Heidi Sickler, Director, Energy and Environmental Policy
Executive Champion: Ian Monroe, President and CEO, Etho Capital; Jon Chorley, CSO, Oracle
Priority: In the absence of political action at the federal level, it is important to support thoughtful policies in California that can serve as a model for action elsewhere, and to consider what business can do to advance the conversation. California is widely and deservedly looked to as a leader for action on climate change and high-tech, in many ways, demonstrably leading the way in terms of advancing energy efficiency for their facilities, acquiring renewable energy to power their operations, to advancing renewable power policies at the local and state level. In 2019, we will continue to support policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing business growth and leadership.
- support and seek passage of two state climate change mitigation bills
- form a partnership with a key ally in the Environmental Justice movement
- Showcase at least three case studies that focus on the how, why and return on investment (ROI) for climate action
- Engage legislators in a discussion with business on concrete action and policy
- creation of a high-tech federal climate action working group and development of principles for action
SF Bay Wetlands
Key Support: Christophe LaBelle, Associate, Environment & Energy
Priority: San Francisco Bay is more than just the geographic heart of the area; it is the crowning jewel that defines our region and provides for a high quality of life. The health and sustainability of the Bay is intertwined with the very health and sustainability of the region. In short, a healthy and resilient San Francisco Bay able to withstand the threat of sea level rise, where thousands of animal and plant species and human co-habitants can thrive now and in the future, is of vital importance to the region’s populace and infrastructure. In 2019, we will work to support wetlands restoration and flood mitigation efforts in the San Francisco Bay to the benefit of our members and the region as the next several years are of central importance, in terms of cementing and building on the success of Measure AA.
- focus on the importance of healthy wetlands and restoration via media and events throughout the year
- creation of Bay Area Baylands Caucus in the state legislature
- guide funding to key wetlands restoration projects, per Measure AA, through participation on the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority Advisory Board
- development of and acceptance of common vision of success (see our discussion document about a Bay Area Sea Level Rise “Adaptation Visioning” Task Force)
- identification of additional resources for restoration work
- development of a widely accepted plan of action for wetlands permit coordination
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.
AB 217 (Eduardo Garcia) – Safe Drinking Water for All Act
This bill would create a Safe Drinking Water Fund and Trust, impose fees on water systems and agricultural polluters, and establish regulations for operating the Fund.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is looking at supporting AB 217.
CA Delta Conveyance
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.
2017 Support in Concept
- 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.
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 1668: Water Management Planning
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.|
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
2016 SB 32 and AB 197
2014 State Water Bond
2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
9/19/19 Marketplace Tech: Where is Big Tech on solutions for climate change adaptation?
9/16/19 Marketplace Tech: At the intersection of tech, climate and the land of Silicon Valley
6/04/18 Peninsula Press: Prop 68 to decide funding for water, parks and climate change in California
4/09/18 Mercury News OpEd: Water Conservation Bills offer Map to California Water Security
10/12/17 Mercury News OpEd: Santa Clara Valley Water District should join in the WaterFix tunnel project
9/29/17 Capital & Main: California Bill Would Bring Climate Change Battle to State Construction Projects
9/4/17 Mercury News OpEd: San Jose’s sustainability plan is good government use of tech
08/29/17 Commonwealth Club: California’s Climate Crusade
07/17/17 Mercury News OpEd: Cap and Trade advocate: Business supports anti-pollution, pro-clean tech bill
07/11/17 San Francisco Chronicle: Brown’s cap-and-trade bill exposes fault lines of state politics
07/11/17 Highland Community News: California Business Leaders Respond to Bills Advancing State’s Cap-and-Trade Program
07/10/17 Mercury News: Jerry Brown, lawmakers announce California climate deal
05/22/17 GreenBiz: The business bulwark behind California’s climate progress
12/12/16 Mercury News OpEd: Mielke: What Donald Trump can learn from tech leaders
08/17/16 Mercury News OpEd: Mielke: WaterFix provides solution to California’s water woes
06/06/16 The Hill OpEd: Climate solutions: from a promise to a plan on the West Coast
04/08/16 San Francisco Chronicle OpEd: A way to help save the bay
01/26/15 Mercury News OpEd: Delta plan: New coalition supports the governor’s twin tunnels
05/22/14 Mercury News OpEd: AB 32: California businesses appreciate state’s environmental planning
08/11/12 Mercury News OpEd: Measure B will protect Santa Clara valley against flooding.