California Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, chairman of the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security, announced that Assembly Bill 1946 has passed the Legislature. The bill now goes to the governor. 

AB 1946 will reform state law by allowing state and regional water quality control boards to refer cases of water code violators to local district attorneys and large city attorneys to bring a civil action or to petition the superior court to impose, assess and recover civil penalties for violations of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. This bill will give the boards more ways to protect Californians from pollution. AB 1946 passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

“I am pleased that my Assembly colleagues chose to support this measure to better protect Californians from pollution. The more tools to enforce California’s environmental laws, the better,” Nava said. “It is necessary to make sure the public, our firefighters and police officers are protected. Companies who fail in their obligation to our community shouldn’t be able to hide from their responsibility.”

Additionally, this measure will extend the statute of limitations from one to five years to make it like other laws related to hazardous substances and hazardous waste which have a statute of limitation of five years.

Companies that have facilities that handle hazardous materials are required to develop a hazardous material release response plan, submit hazardous material inventory and management information and immediately report any release or threatened release of a hazardous material.

This measure will give district attorneys enhanced tools to go after polluters who fail to develop and file plans and report any hazardous material release. This measure will bring much need protections to the public and first responders such as law enforcement and firefighters.

John Mann is a spokesman for Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.