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DEMA Public Policy Alert - California Senate Bill 350

Thursday, October 8, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rachelle Reimers
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DEMA has become aware of a Senate Bill in California which is currently making its way through the California Assembly, and which could have a direct and detrimental impact on the diving industry, many small businesses and diving consumers.  While DEMA and the dive industry supports viable efforts to reduce hydrocarbon emissions and other forms of pollution that effect the environment, especially as may effect global warming, with its related impact on coral reefs and dive sites around the world, the bill being proposed attempts to mandate too much, too soon, without the completion of the sorts of scientific and engineering study, and public and industry input and evaluation, that the bill's own language mandates. 

 
California Senate Bill 350 would require standards in California to be set in furtherance of achieving a reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 50% by January 1, 2030. The bill would require the state board to prepare a strategy and implementation plan to achieve this reduction by January 1, 2017.  The requirements contained in this bill will apply to cars, marine vessels (to the extent permitted by federal law) off-road or non vehicle engine categories, highway motorcycles, off-highway vehicles, construction, farm equipment, utility engines and locomotives.

The California Chamber of Commerce indicates that SB 350, "Potentially increases costs and burdens on all Californians by mandating an arbitrary and unrealistic reduction of petroleum use by 50%, increasing the current Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% and increasing energy efficiency in buildings by 50% - all by 2030 without regard to the impact on individuals, jobs and the economy."  

The bill gives the California Air Resources Board (CARB) free rein to enact a mandatory 50% gasoline and diesel fuel restriction (8 billion gallons annually) by the year 2030, without legislative oversight or approval.  To meet the mandate, CARB will have the authority to ration gas and diesel fuel, place mobility restrictions on state residents, place surcharges on family mini-vans, trucks and SUVs, and even monitor individuals' fuel consumption records.  SB 350 could limit how far a person can drive through gas price increases and surcharges on their older vehicles.  

The use restrictions placed on vehicles in California as proposed in SB 350 are likely to have an impact on all businesses, especially those in the recreational arena; for the recreational diving industry, this legislation could have a detrimental impact on the household budgets of individuals and families who travel within the state to dive, who plan to purchase dive equipment and on those who dive using a personal marine vessel.  As household budgets are strained and travel is restricted under this legislation, divers could make fewer dive trips, purchase fewer certifications and buy less equipment. SB 350 will make it more difficult for all business operators, including diving operators to do business in California. 

According to Retailer Rusty Berry of Scuba Schools of America in Montclair, "this bill has the potential to be devastating to my business.  It could make it difficult or impossible for divers to get to local dive sites, and could disrupt family budgets to the point that they'll have to choose between getting to work, and going diving."
The bill has already successfully passed through the California Senate without bipartisan support, and time is short to make an impact on the Assembly.  DEMA strongly suggests all diving industry interests contact your legislators and voice your opposition to this bill. 

The California Chamber of Commerce has created a letter template which is available here.  You can find and contact your Assembly person by entering your zip code in the space provided on this page

For more information on SB 350, contact DEMA at info@dema.org or 858-616-6408.

Contact Us: US Toll Free: (800) 862-3483 | Ph: (858) 616-6408 | Fx: (858) 616-6495 | info@dema.org
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