California Mining Reform Law signed by Governor Brown

Governor Brown signed into law two significant pieces of legislation aimed at improving enforcement of California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA). The Governor signed SB 209 (Pavley) and AB 1142 (Gray), two complementary bills that together represent significant reform to SMARA. SB 209 and AB 1142 together make numerous changes to the state surface mining provisions regarding reclamation plans, financial assurances, annual inspections, and enforcement.

SMARA Reform Bills Advance in Senate and Assembly

Two important new pieces of legislation to improve implementation and enforcement of surface mining in California are poised to be taken up as soon as next week on the floor of the Senate and Assembly, almost the final step before heading to the Governor’s desk for his signature. SB 209 (Pavley) and AB 1142 (Gray) have both moved ahead with support from a diverse set of interested parties including county supervisors, mining industry advocates and conservationists.

SMARA Reform Bill (SB 209) shelved until 2016 legislative session

The Sierra Fund’s bill being carried by Senator Fran Pavley to amend the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) got all of the way through the Senate and to the floor of the Assembly before being put on a shelf until winter. This bill aims to improve enforcement of SMARA by lead agencies (usually cities and counties). Key elements of SMARA include ensuring regular and expert inspections, adequate financial mechanisms in place to support reclamation, and a good reclamation plan that is implemented when mining ends.

SMARA reform bills move forward

On Monday, July 13 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee voted to approve SB 209 (Pavley), a bill sponsored by The Sierra Fund to strengthen enforcement of SMARA.  On a 7 – 1 bipartisan vote the bill was moved out of the committee and onto the Appropriations Committee, where it will be heard later in […]

SMARA reform bill (SB 209) passes Senate Floor

SB 209 (Pavley), a bill to improve enforcement of California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act passed the Senate Floor.

A wide range of organizations have worked to support this bill including TSF, Environmental Working Group, CA League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, Wolf Creek Community Alliance, CLAIM-GV, Endangered Habitats League, CA Native Plant Society, San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association, and Center for Biological Diversity.

Update on SMARA reform bill (SB 209)

The Sierra Fund continues to track the progress of SB 209 (Pavley), a bill to improve SMARA, which has now passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee and will be heard in Appropriations later this spring. This bill will likely be amended to include the language that is being developed through weekly stakeholder meetings being convened by Governor Brown, which The Sierra Fund has been participating in.

Bill to reform Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SB 209) introduced

Senator Pavley has introduced SB 209, a bill to reform the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA).  The Sierra Fund has worked with Senator Pavley to help identify opportunities to improve consistent enforcement of SMARA, relating to inspections and reclamation. Regulation of mining practices based on their environmental impacts began with the “Sawyer Decision” in […]

Legislative Update on SB 1270 and 1259

The Sierra Fund is supporting two bills authored by Senator Fran Pavley in the current legislative session, SB 1270 and SB 1259. SB 1270, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) Reform Act of 2014 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee without enough votes to muster passage, making the bill essentially dead for the year. SB 1259 Sedimentation Studies has moved to the floor of the Senate after unanimously passing both the Appropriations and Natural Resources Committees. This bill requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to gather data to study the loss of storage capacity behind California dams resulting from sedimentation.

Mining Reform Bill SB1270 Passes First Senate Hurdle

The Senate Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed SB 1270 (Pavley), the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) Reform Act on a vote of 7 – 2.

Elizabeth Martin, CEO of the bill’s sponsor The Sierra Fund, spoke as an expert witness on the benefits of the bill. Senator Fran Pavley, Chair of the Committee and author of the bill introduced the bill with the note that this is the first time that SMARA has been revisited since legislation championed by California State Senator Byron Sher in the 1990s.

Reservoir Siltation Studies Proposed in SB 1259

Senator Fran Pavley, Chair of the California Senate Natural Resources Committee, has introduced SB 1259, a bill that if passed and signed by the Governor would: Require the Department of Water Resources to gather data for review of the loss of storage capacity behind dams resulting from siltation; Require that siltation studies include an evaluation […]