May 2020 Hearing Report

Mandy Sackett
June 19, 2020
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May 2020 Hearing Description

The Coastal Commission’s virtual May hearing took place on Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14. The meeting agenda was light and featured mostly non-controversial items. This was the Commission’s first virtual meeting and served as a trial run. Meetings will remain remote for the foreseeable future and will resume a normal or slightly higher workload with a number of items currently backlogged due to the cancellation of the April hearing and the light May agenda. As meetings continue in the virtual platform, we must ensure public participation remains a priority. See below for more discussion on public participation and other key items from the May agenda including a vote on SB 1090 and adoption of a new resolution, Making California’s Coast Resilient to Sea Level Rise: Principles for Aligned State Action.

Virtual Meetings

Despite the toll COVID-19 continues to take on the state’s residents, the desire for public participation in government has not waned. In fact, in some cases, people are more compelled than ever to make their voices heard. As we settle into new remote meeting formats using various technologies, meaningful public participation must not be lost. We strongly encourage the Coastal Commission and all state agencies to strive for maximum public participation in these new circumstances. For more information on how to participate in the June hearing, click here.

Oppose SB 1090

On Wednesday, the Coastal Commission voted to oppose SB 1090 in accordance with the staff recommendation. SB 1090 would eliminate Coastal Act provisions that protect public access and recreation by allowing private property owners to build seawalls with almost no review. Because seawalls accelerate erosion, the resulting rush to construct more seawalls along the coastline would drastically accelerate the loss of our beaches at a time when we already risk losing up to 70% of Southern California beaches to sea level rise by 2100.

SB 1090 flies in the face of the thoughtful planning and policy work that has been gaining momentum in recent months. We must prepare our communities for sea level rise and offset threats to our coastal resources. SB 1090 would lock us into the one method we know is sure to fail and result in the accelerated loss of our beaches. Send a message to the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and tell them to oppose this bill today!

Making California’s Coast Resilient to Sea Level Rise: Principles for Aligned State Action

In early 2020, state agencies including the California Natural Resources Agency, CalEPA and the Coastal Commission convened to develop a new vision document for addressing sea level rise, “Making California’s Coast Resilient to Sea Level Rise: Principles for Aligned State Action.” This effort recognizes that California’s coast, bays, estuaries, and ocean are critical to the state’s environmental and economic security, integral to our quality of life, and an iconic part of the state’s legacy, but face ongoing and increasing threats from climate change and sea level rise. The goal of the principles is to improve effectiveness in addressing this immediate challenge and is a step in the right direction towards proactive sea level rise planning and adaptation.

Check out ActCoastal partner testimony on the ActCoastal YouTube page!