Assembly Bill 3030 (AB 3030) sets forth ambitious goals for conservation in California. The bill seeks to preserve 30 percent of all water areas as well as 30 percent of land by 2030. Introduced by State Assemblymember Ash Kalra back in February, the bill is titled Resource Conservation: Land and Ocean Conservation Goals.
The measure is being opposed by more than 40 organizations, including the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF), the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), the California Forestry Association, as well as several hunting and fishing groups. CFBF has raised concerns about if the criteria were to become mandated on easements, it would have a detrimental impact on landowners that are entering into easement contracts. One of the underlying issues that CFBF has with the measure is how the term “protected” is used in the bill’s language.
The concern about the vague definition of ‘protection’ is shared by others who oppose the measure. In an analysis of the bill, the arguments in opposition note that “the definition of “protection” is ambiguous, making it unclear what would and would not support achieving the bill’s goals.” The California Building Industry Association also notes that AB 3030 would worsen California’s housing crisis and that the bill is unnecessary given that more than half of the land in the state is already under various forms of protection.
Ag groups in particular have taken issue with the bill’s lack of accommodation for differentiating between natural and working lands. In a Facebook post, CCA noted one of the reasons the group is opposing the measure “is because it’s unclear if grazing on private and public lands would be permitted under the measure.” CCA has emphasized that grazing provides multiple benefits to the state, including assisting in the reduction of fire fuels and enhancement to wildlife habitat.
AB 3030 was recently passed in the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is now being heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.