Advancement of Carbon Removal and Mariculture Laws in California Assembly

Two bills currently under review in the California Assembly have gained bipartisan backing in two committees and are now advancing to the Appropriations Committee. The Committee on Natural Resources unanimously endorsed AB 2572, which tasks the Air Resources Board (ARB) with evaluating environmental standards and advocating for the implementation of ocean carbon dioxide removal projects. Similarly, the Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife approved AB 3220, which mandates the Department of Fish and Wildlife to explore methods for expediting permit processes related to mariculture projects. AB 2572, presented by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-South Bay), aims to guide the ARB in establishing criteria to assess the environmental safety and sustainability of ocean carbon dioxide removal projects, while also making such projects eligible for state carbon credit program funding.

AB 3220, introduced by Assemblywoman Diane Papan (D-San Mateo), directs the Department of Fish and Wildlife to investigate the acquisition of state verification authority from the US Army Corps of Engineers and other relevant federal agencies to streamline the review and approval of federal permits for mariculture projects. These projects, as defined in the legislation, encompass activities involving the propagation, cultivation, maintenance, and harvesting of aquatic plants and animals in marine environments.

Both bills are sponsored by AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, a 35-acre ocean technology hub housing numerous innovative climate solutions, including carbon capture initiatives led by Caltech, USC, and UCLA. Additionally, several startups and companies operate mariculture and aquaculture laboratories at AltaSea.

The bills will now proceed to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration and are anticipated to be deliberated on in May.

“We commend Assemblymembers Muratsuchi and Papan for their significant efforts to streamline carbon removal and mariculture projects. If enacted and signed into law by the Governor, this legislation will help curb emissions and advance California’s environmental sustainability objectives,” stated Terry Tamminen, President and CEO of AltaSea. Tamminen, who previously served as Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, added, “The bipartisan backing for these bills once again underscores California’s leadership in climate initiatives. We eagerly anticipate maintaining this momentum in fostering our blue economy.”

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