featured graphic for California Senate District 29, represented by Josh Newman

California Senate approves bill to train workforce dedicated to ocean conservation

Legislation to create the California Ocean Corps received unanimous, bipartisan approval in the California State Senate. SB 1036, authored by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), will establish a conservation corps dedicated to restoration and climate resiliency along the California coast.

“As the recent oil spill off the coast of Orange County demonstrated, our state’s coastal areas are vulnerable and need to be safeguarded in every way possible,” said Senator Newman. “In the face of accelerating climate change and the devastating impacts of recent oil spills, Californians up and down the state will be benefit from a workforce development program designed to maintain, protect and restore California’s beaches and other coastal ecosystems.”

The Ocean Corps will be tasked with projects to address climate change; restore and enhance coastal watersheds and habitats; provide public access to the coast; and deal with extreme weather events or other natural and manmade hazards that threaten coastal communities, infrastructure and natural resources. The Ocean Corps will prepare young people and adults for environmentally-conscious and secure employment.

SB 1036 will require the California Conservation Corps to establish the California Ocean Corps through grants to local corps in coastal counties over a four-year period. Areas most impacted by the oil spill off the coast of Orange County in October of 2021 will be given priority for funding, given the urgent and increased need for restoration work following the spill disaster. In accordance with the polluter pays principle, funds spent on projects that undertake oil spill cleanup and recovery efforts will be reimbursed by the responsible party.

SB 1036 is coauthored by Senators Bob Archuleta, Patricia Bates, Lena Gonzalez, Dave Min (principal coauthor), Henry Stern, Tom Umberg and Assemblymembers Philip Chen, Steven Choi, Tom Daly, Marc Levine, Laurie Davies, Janet Nguyen, Cottie Petrie-Norris (principal coauthor), and Sharon Quirk-Silva.

The bill is supported by 350 Humboldt: Grass Roots Climate Action; Anaheim Chamber of Commerce; Anaheim Workforce Development Board; Banning Ranch Conservancy; Blue Latitudes Foundation; Bolsa Chica Conservancy; California Association of Conservation Corps; California Environmental Voters; City of Laguna Beach; Defenders of Wildlife; Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks; Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce; Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy; Orange County Conservation Corps (sponsor); Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Surfrider Foundation (sponsor) and Wyland Worldwide.

The bill will be heard next in Assembly policy committee.

This article was released by the Office of Senator Josh Newman.