CalCAN, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the American Farmland Trust are co- sponsoring a bill (AB 823) in the California legislature to require permanent protection of one acre of farmland for every acre converted to residential, industrial and infrastructural development projects. AB 823 would, for the first time, establish a minimum statewide farmland mitigation standard for development projects subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), the chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, and is co-authored by Assemblymember Das Williams.
If this requirement had been clarified when CEQA was first enacted in 1970, we would have permanently saved between one and two million acres of farmland in California by now. Agriculture is crucial to the economy and quality of life in our state, and it is a key component to limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
You can also track the status of the bill here (enter the bill number at the top right of the web page).
For a fact sheet on AB 823, click here.
For background on the need to protect California farmland from urban sprawl, large-scale solar facilities and more, please see the recently released CalCAN report called “Triple Harvest: Farmland conservation for climate protection, smart growth and food security.”
We will keep you updated on the progress of the California Farmland Protection Act, and alert you about making calls to your representative as needed.