The May Revise to the Governor’s proposed budget has been released and there is good news and bad news. On the good news side, there is money for things like air quality incentives, water and environmental upgrades. The bad news…there is not enough of it to meet this state’s own unrealistic mandates. And there is money to fund more anti-farming activism through pesticide notification activities, something that this administration has as a priority.
The funding for the FARMER program which funds the replacement of old Tier 0, 1, and 2 tractors could not have come at a more important time. The deadline to achieve 11 tons per day of NOx emissions is less than two years away. The Governor is proposing $363 million over two years. Without this incentive money, agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley would be faced with a mandatory tractor replacement regulation much like the state’s Truck Regulation. However, the money is still less than the California Air Resources Board’s own call for $193 million for four years to meet the mandate. The Governor also proposed $150 million towards solving the agricultural burn elimination issue in the San Joaquin Valley, but this is much less than the estimated $290 million agriculture believes it will take to end the practice.
On the water front, the Governor is proposing a $5.1 billion investment, over four years, to align with his July 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio. The package includes:
- $1.3 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities.
- $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling projects.
- $300 million for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security, water quality and water reliability.
- $200 million for water conveyance improvements to repair major water delivery systems damaged by subsidence.
- $500 million for multi-benefit land repurposing to provide long-term, flexible support for water users.
- $230 million for wildlife corridor and fish passage projects to improve the ability of wildlife to migrate safely.
- $200 million for habitat restoration to support tidal wetland, floodplain, and multi-benefit flood-risk reduction projects.
- $91 million for critical data collection to repair and augment the state’s water data infrastructure to improve forecasting, monitoring, and assessment of hydrologic conditions.
- $60 million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program grants to help farmers reduce irrigation water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural pumping.
- $33 million for fisheries and wildlife support to protect and conserve California’s diverse ecosystems.
- $27 million for emergency and permanent solutions to drinking water drought emergencies.
Lastly the May Revision proposes $10 million one-time General Fund to implement a statewide infrastructure network to provide access to information about local pesticide use. The Department of Pesticide Regulation will be launching a process this summer to develop and adopt the statewide regulations necessary for advanced public notification of certain pesticide applications. Coupled with the massive increase in the pesticide mill tax, it is clear this administration is targeting pesticide use in California.