State Senate bill proposes minor tweaks to ocean resources management policy

Non-substantive update clarifies depth of state law’s intent by adding two words and changing two others.

SACRAMENTO—California’s almost 20-year state policy on ocean resource management could be receiving the most cosmetic of updates, thanks to a new bill proposed by State Sen. Scott Wiener. The proposal – Senate Bill 69, or SB 69 – admittedly states it would make non-substantive changes to current state law. Two new words would be introduced, while two occurrences of “which” would be replaced with “that,” based upon The Log’s reading of SB 69. No other elements of the state law on ocean resource management would be changed.

It is unclear whether the dedication of time needed for the legislature and state governor’s office to deliberate (and potentially approve) minor – and non-substantive – changes necessary.

Here are the specific changes proposed under Wiener’s bill:

  • The first sentence of Section 36002 of the Public Resources Code would be updated to include the phrase “all of” and read, “It is the policy of the State of California to all of the following …”
  • The word “which” would be replaced with “that” on two occasions:
  • “Encourage ocean resources development which that is environmentally sound, sustainable and economically beneficial,” and
  • “Ensure effective participation in federal planning and management of ocean resources and uses which that may affect this state….”

Would already established law have a more focused vision by adding the phrase “all of” in the code’s first sentence and changing two occurrences of “that” later in the policy?

There are six provisions within the California Ocean Resources Management Act of 1990:

  • Assess the long-term value and benefits of ocean conservation and resources development
  • Encourage environmentally sound, sustainable and economically beneficial ocean resources development
  • Assert state interests when cooperating with federal agencies on ocean resources management
  • Ensure resources management in state and federal waters are efficient and coordinated
  • Understand the ocean ecosystem through research, study, and understanding of ocean processes and resources, and
  • “Encourage research and development of innovative, environmentally compatible marine technologies for protection, exploration and utilization of ocean resources,” according to language of SB 69.

The California Ocean Resources Management Act of 1990 established the California Ocean Resources Management Program, whose mission is to coordinate conservation, enhancement and management of the state’s ocean resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

Wiener introduced SB 69 on the State Senate floor on Jan. 9 and forwarded to the upper house’s Rules Committee a few days later. A legislative analysis of SB 69 has not yet been conducted or published.

The state legislature, through the California Ocean Protection Act, has declared our coastal and ocean resources as critical to our economic and environmental security.

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