Press Releases

Davis signs bill to clean beaches

By Louise Chu
Saturday September 21, 2002


SACRAMENTO — On the eve of California’s 18th annual Coastal Cleanup Day, Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill Friday to allocate part of a $2.6 billion bond measure to protect the state’s coastal waters. 

The bill, by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, will apply $223 million from Proposition 40 to a number of water conservation programs to reduce pollution of the state’s water resources. 

Water conservation groups applauded the spending plan. Joe Caves, a legislative advocate for The Nature Conservancy, called it “the most important and comprehensive water quality bill we’ve passed in decades.” 

Pavley said she designed the legislation to allow environmental groups fair access to the money. It will be distributed through competitive grant programs, rather than earmarked it for specific projects. 

The largest chunk, nearly $47 million, will go toward watershed restoration projects like controlling erosion, protecting fish and habitat and reducing contamination. Another $46 million will go toward cleaning up beaches. 

The remainder will go to grant programs to help small communities meet water pollution control requirements, help reduce storm water runoff pollution, improve agricultural water quality. 

Last March, voters approved the $2.6 billion bond proposal to improve air and water quality, fund state and local parks and protect water resources. It specifically devoted $375 million to water resources. 

Davis has not taken a position on Proposition 50, another water conservation bond up for a vote on the November ballot. 

However, he has signed bills by Sens. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, and Mike Machado, D-Linden, that allocate money from that bond in the event it passes. That may provide an indicator of his views, said Mary Nichols, secretary of the California Resources Agency. 

“Our beach and our coastline are a precious part of California’s character,” Davis said in a prepared statement Friday. “It’s our historic obligation in future generations to do everything we can to keep our beaches healthy and clean.” 

Coastal Cleanup Day, organized by the California Coastal Commission, organizes volunteers to help clean up more than 400 beaches. It takes place on the third Saturday of each September.