$5.5 Billion Fire Prevention & Climate Resiliency Bond Passes Senate Natural Resources Committee

Tuesday, March 16 2021

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2021

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 807-6091


$5.5 Billion Fire Prevention & Climate Resiliency Bond Passes Senate Natural Resources Committee


Sacramento, California – Senate Bill 45,  a measure authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Canada) that provides critical investments to help California become more resilient to climate change, passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee today. Senators Allen, Hurtado, and Stern are joint authors of the bill. SB 45 will be amended to include Senator Rubio as a joint author, Senator Hertzberg as principal co-author, and Senators Dodd, Archuleta, Gonzalez, Glazer, and Cortese as co-authors. 


“We now have eternal fire seasons, water shortages and increased drought, more severe flooding, and increased numbers of extreme heat days that put our residents and our infrastructure at risk,” stated Senator Portantino. “These events are already costing California billions of dollars every year.  We must take bold action now to fund solutions to reduce these effects and adopt the necessary preventative measures to protect vulnerable communities and our natural resources.”


According to California’s 4th Climate Assessment prepared by the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Energy Commission, and the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the cost of climate change for California alone could be more than $113 billion annually by 2050. The report determined that these costs will only compound if the state does not take action now to reduce the risk of climate change impacts such as more severe wildfires, prolonged drought, and deadly floods.


SB 45, the Wildfire, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, proposes a general obligation bond to inject much-needed revenue to address these impacts.  The measure proposes funds to reduce fire risk and restore areas that are already damaged, to restore and protect impacted wetlands, watersheds, and waterways, to reduce impacts on vulnerable populations and improve the resiliency of our water supplies and agricultural lands.


Year after year of deadly and intense wildfires, coupled with a devastating multi-year drought, demonstrates that the impacts of climate change are being felt and already costing California billions of dollars every year. Even with recent investments to reduce fire risks, the state is still far behind the curve. Investing in preventative measures will save the state billions of dollars in damage costs.


“Our climate can’t wait,” stated Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy for the Nature Conservancy. “Catastrophic wildfires, extreme heat, sea level rise, flooding, and drought—the list of climate impacts in California is growing larger and more severe. If we don’t act now, the cost of climate change will reach $113 billion annually by 2050. SB 45 is essential to California’s future and will reduce the impacts of climate change to public safety, our health, and the environment,” he added.


"Peninsula Open Space Trust is excited and grateful for this important opportunity to advance climate resilience and adaptation efforts throughout the state, and especially in under-resourced communities,” stated Walter T. Moore, President of the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). “We have seen firsthand the multiple impacts of wildfires on our communities, coastal farmers, and redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains, as well as the adverse effects of climate change on water and wildlife across the Bay Area.  POST is pleased to see the Senate move this bill forward expeditiously and appreciates their continued leadership on these critical issues," he added.


Supporters of SB 45 include: Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Big Sur Land Trust, California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Invasive Plant Council, County of Marine, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, Friends of Desert Mountains, Surfrider Foundation, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, the Nature Conservancy, Outdoor Alliance California, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Placer County Water Agency, Planning and Conservation League, Sacramento County, Safe Agriculture Safe Schools, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, Smith River Alliance, Sonoma Water, Transition Habitat Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Western Rivers Conservancy, Wholly H20, and Wildlands Conservancy.