2018 Platform: Energy and Environment


Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and we believe California and the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis.  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 bipartisan 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.


Climate change and other environmental issues present a clear and imminent threat to our planet and our public health, therefore California Democrats will:



  • Urge Congress to pass comprehensive energy security and climate protection laws that include national requirements for renewable electricity generation, end reliance on dirty forms of energy such as coal, and establish 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 nuclear power, ensure the safety and fully evaluate the full lifecycle costs of nuclear power.  This includes the phasing-out of all reactors, the swift decommission and withhold of funds for license renewal for Mark I nuclear reactors (which cannot be made safe), and ensuring that operators provide emergency plans and adequate liability protection for populations within 50 miles of reactors;
  • Support a comprehensive employment plan for workers displaced as nuclear and fossil fuel infrastructure is eliminated, including Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for workers employed to tear down and remove such facilities, and work to ensure the clean-up and safe storage of nuclear waste and the cleanup of Superfund sites;
  • Support price guarantees as a method of promoting domestic and entrepreneurial renewable energy production that increases 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 attempts to remove incentives that increase the number 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.  Incentivize utilities to provide on-bill financing to help Californians finance energy efficiency upgrades;
  • Support energy democracy and community choice energy programs to transition our cities and counties, and ultimately all of California, to locally sourced clean power that will provide green jobs;
  • Provide research grants that encourage 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.


  • 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; return to the state's 1990 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 2025; produce 100 percent of California's electricity from renewable and sustainable energy sources by 2045; 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 at 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 provide adequate funding for the federal and equivalent state regulations such as the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, or the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and oppose attempts to weaken such protections;
  • 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;
  • Support mandatory funding for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to counties which have relinquished taxable land to the state for wildlife conservation;
  • Encourage the goal of "Net Zero Energy Emissions" in new home construction by 2020 and 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;
  • Support an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing, and other forms of oil/gas- well stimulation 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 of climate change, protect the environment, and allow government access and testing of the chemicals used at all sites;
  • Work to reduce California’s dependence on natural gas without sacrificing energy system reliability by replacing it with renewable energy in order to eliminate the need for storage facilities, including the immediate shutdown of the natural gas facility in Aliso Canyon that had the largest methane leak in U.S. history;
  • Affirm a commitment to environmental justice: no community should be subjected to environmental hazards due to race, economic standing, or immigration status;
  • Support policies that protect the biological diversity of living organisms, dedicated funding to conduct basic research, monitoring, habitat protection, and conservation actions to ensure sustainable populations of wildlife and fisheries for future generations; and,
  • Support the adoption of a new California wetland definition to protect the 2.9 million acres of wetlands in California that include seasonal streams and small isolated ponds.

Agriculture and Food Safety

  • Provide innovative incentives that will encourage agricultural water conservation, the retention of lands for agricultural production, and low impact/sustainable agricultural practices; promote an agriculture and food sector that is economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsible; protect California’s agricultural land as an irreplaceable resource;
  • Curtail and phase out pesticides that pose threats to farm workers, consumers, and pollinators, such as bees;
  • Promote food safety, eat local movements, 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 support providing low-interest loans for local farms that can produce fresh locally-grown produce and provide local employment opportunities;
  • Encourage small-scale farming, organic farming, community gardens, farmers’ markets and other farm-to-table programs as a means of connecting consumers to food production and driving economic growth; and,
  • Support policy and legislation that encourages and educates on the use of plant-based alternatives to reduce reliance on animal agriculture, a major contributor to climate change.
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  • Support vehicle regulations to provide healthier air for all Californians, strong and workable low-emission and zero-emission vehicle standards that will continue to be a model for the country, and 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 creating smart growth and “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 financial support to those paying higher costs or receiving a reduced wage due to the cost of providing the parking;
  • Demand a state plan outlining how cars and light-duty trucks can hit climate-stabilizing targets by defining enforceable measures to achieve necessary fleet efficiency and per-capita driving limits;
  • 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;
  • Support the design and implementation of a single, environmentally-sound technology system that will collect and distribute fees for the use of roads, parking, and transit that is both economically fair and convenient and protects user privacy and the interests of low-income users;
  • Work for the electrification of all trucking and transit systems; and,
  • Work to ensure that freeway expansion projects are subordinate to more sustainable alternatives that will result in more jobs and more economic growth.


  • Ensure clean, safe drinking water in schools, public buildings, and municipal water systems as a basic human right;
  • Implement the mandate to ensure clean drinking water for all Californians by fully protecting all water sources, funding the treatment systems needed to clean up existing contamination, and assuring that small water systems, heavily concentrated in rural areas, have the resources to deliver reliable, safe drinking water;
  • Motivate efficient and sustainable use of water; hold all users accountable to reasonable consumption levels; implement and enforce regulations for groundwater use that includes full usage documentation;
  • Ensure allocation and management of water to sustain the economy, including needs of agriculture, ecosystems, fisheries, recreation, and endangered species;
  • Protect the Delta by upgrading the levees, restoring the rivers, increasing floodplain habitat for fish and wildlife and groundwater recharge, mitigating saltwater intrusion and subsidence, and preserving agricultural land; invest in projects throughout the state that reduce reliance on the Delta andpromote water conservation as a way of life;
  • Support measures that prohibit long-term depletion of California’s aquifers;
  • Prioritize conservation, storm water capture/reclamation, and potable reuse/recycling over desalination and dam-building; and,
  • Ensure that all stakeholders are consulted regarding proposals for new or expanded diversions of water from one watershed to another and that the environmental, economic, and social justice impact of these water diversions are fully addressed.


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