2016 Platform: Energy and Environment

All Californians, urban, suburban and rural, hold a shared interest in preserving and protecting the environment that sustains us, especially our water.  California Democrats have led the way toward effective bi-partisan solutions to problems arising from our industrial society - resource extraction, waste disposal and pollution - and their disparate impact on our forests, family farms, the poor, ethnic minorities, and indigenous people.

To reverse the real and imminent threat of global warming and to protect public health and our planet, California Democrats will:

Energy

  • Urge Congress to pass a comprehensive energy security and climate protection law that includes national requirements for renewable electricity generation, end reliance on dirty forms of energy such as coal, and a rigorous greenhouse gas emissions cap;
  • Urge Congress, the California Legislature, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission to reduce long-term reliance on non-renewable nuclear power including the phaseout of reactors that cannot be shown to be economically viable, to ensure the safety and fully evaluate the economic viability and full lifecycle costs of nuclear power, to quickly decommission and withhold funding for license renewal for Mark 1 nuclear reactors that cannot be made safe, and to provide emergency plans and adequate liability protection for populations within 50 miles of reactors and in the event that nuclear reactors are decommissioned due to safety or economic concerns that there shall be a comprehensive employment plan that includes Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for workers employed to tear down and remove the plant;  
  • Support a generous and unlimited minimum price guarantee as a method of promoting domestic and entrepreneurial renewable energy production and to increase the percentage of renewable energy in California's power mix. Support the right of individuals to generate their own energy; virtual net metering; expansion of solar energy production in disadvantaged communities and multi-unit developments; and encourage the growth of individual energy generation. Oppose any attempts to disincentivize the growth of rooftop solar systems. Support government initiatives that allow property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for their homes and commercial buildings;
  • Provide research grants that encourages conservation, sustainability of natural resources, and development of green technologies in transportation and alternative energy production;
  • Support the implementation of a fossil fuels extraction tax; and,
  • Develop comprehensive regional community conservation and sustainability plans to prevent depletion of natural resources.

Environment

  • Create green collar jobs by providing incentives for the development, production, deployment and purchase of environmentally friendly products, renewable energy systems, high speed rail, energy efficient goods and services, and recycled materials through public-private partnerships;
  • Extend the state's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act to 2050; by 2020, return to the state's 1990 greenhouse gas emissions levels; by 2030 produce 100 percent of California's electricity from renewable and sustainable energy sources, produce 50 percent of the state's transportation fuels from non-petroleum sources, and support Low Carbon Fuel Standards that take into account long-term sustainability;
  • Oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure projects;
  • Reject any attempt for new offshore oil or gas development, preserve and ensure coastal access, protect the mandates of the California Coastal Act, and support the recovery and preservation of our ocean ecosystems;
  • Restore the clarity of Lake Tahoe and preserve California's inland lakes by preventing the intrusion of new aquatic invasive species and by protecting watersheds and surrounding forest ecosystems;
  • Work to improve, and oppose any attempt to weaken the federal Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, or the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);
  • Support policies to eliminate the costly scourge of plastic pollution from our state's neighborhoods, rivers, beaches, and marine ecosystems; Promote sustainable utilization and conservation of natural resources and public lands through appropriate taxation for extraction of non-renewable natural resources and thoughtful land use planning to combat suburban sprawl; reject any sale of public forestry and park lands; support dedicated funding for state parks; and, safeguard California's forests through sustained yield best practices forestry, the elimination of clear cutting (and subsidies for roads to enable clear cutting) to preserve natural habitat diversity and connectivity, soil conservation measures, the preservation of heritage trees, and carbon sequestration techniques;
  • Encourage the goal of "Net Zero Energy Emissions" in new home construction by 2020, and "Net Zero Energy Emissions" in new commercial construction by 2030, and encourage the use of fire resistant, termite-proof, and energy efficient building materials in all new residential and light commercial construction; and,
  • Support an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing, and other forms of oil/gas well stimulation, with such a moratorium to remain in effect until legislation and regulations are put in place that repeal the exception in the Safe Drinking Water Act, guarantee public health and safety, mitigate the effects on climate change, protect the environment and allow government access and testing of the chemicals used in all sites;
  • Work to reduce California’s dependence on natural gas, replacing it with renewable energy, in order to eliminate the need for storage facilities like the one near Porter Ranch that had a massive well blow out, without sacrificing energy system reliability.

Agriculture and Food Safety

  • Provide innovative incentives that will encourage agricultural water conservation and the retention of lands for agricultural production and encourage low impact/sustainable agricultural practices;
  • Curtail and phase out pesticides that pose threats to farm workers, consumers, and pollinators, such as bees; and,
  • Promote food safety, eat local movement, small family farms, urban gardens, healthy food alternatives, safe working conditions for farm workers, appropriate food labeling to include those foods containing GMO products, the humane treatment of animals in food production, and provide low interest loans for local farms that can produce fresh locally grown produce and provide local employment opportunities.

Transportation

  • Support vehicle regulations to provide healthier air for all Californians, support strong and workable low-emission and zero-emission vehicle standards that will continue to be a model for the country, support Clean Vehicle Incentive programs to include the installation of charging infrastructure, and provide assistance to small businesses to meet the low-emission standards;
  • Demand Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) driving-reduction targets, shown by science to support climate stabilization;
  • Work for equitable and environmentally-sound road and parking operations; Support strategies to reduce driving, such as smart growth, “complete streets”; teaching bicycling traffic skills; and improving transit, from local systems to high speed rail
  • Work for shared, convenient and value-priced parking, operated with a system that provides earnings to those paying higher costs or getting a reduced wage, due to the cost of providing the parking; and,
  • Demand a state plan showing how cars and light-duty trucks can hit climate-stabilizing targets, by defining enforceable measures to achieve the needed fleet efficiency and per-capita driving;
  • Support policies, including tax policies and the use of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) grants, that empower business owners, especially small business owners, to make investments in transportation infrastructure to ensure that freight moves by lower-emission local, short-line freight railroads, instead of adding to highway congestion and pollution.

Water

  • Implement a comprehensive science-based water plan that includes managing each watershed (including groundwater) as a unified whole and upgrading the Delta levee system;
  • Fully protect all water sources from contamination and guarantee sufficient water for the basic human needs of drinking and sanitation;
  • Motivate efficient, sustainable, safe use of water and hold all users accountable for their consumption; implement and enforce regulations regarding groundwater use including full usage documentation; and,
  • Ensure allocation and management of water to sustain ecosystems, fisheries, recreation, and endangered species.
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