Gov. Newsom vetoes ‘Trump Insurance’ bill

Source: By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, September 30, 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed legislation aimed at protecting federal environmental standards in the state as the Trump administration rolls those back.

S.B. 1, dubbed “Trump Insurance,” would have required California agencies to adopt environmental, public health and worker safety rules at least as strong as the federal ones in place Jan. 19, 2017, the day before President Trump took office. Provisions would expire at the end of his potential second term in January 2025.

Newsom said the state could combat Trump administration actions without the measure.

“California is a leader in the fight for environmental, resource, and worker protections,” Newsom said in a statement. The Trump administration “has repeatedly tried to override and invalidate these protections, and each time the state has aggressively countered — taking immediate legal action and employing every tool at the state’s disposal to safeguard our natural resources, environmental protections, and workers.”

“No other state has fought harder to defeat Trump’s environmental policies, and that will continue to be the case,” he added.

The veto comes as a battle escalates between the Trump administration and California, the nation’s most populous state. Golden State Democratic leaders see California as head of the “resistance,” preserving environmental and other rules amid Trump administration actions. The state recently struck a deal with four large automakers on emissions and mileage standards, prompting the Trump administration to warn California that it’s breaking federal law.

Trump’s EPA last week threatened to revoke federal highway funds given to California over Clean Air Act compliance issues.

While green groups largely praised S.B. 1, it had prompted some disagreements over water issues.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and four Democratic congressmen — Reps. Jim Costa, John Garamendi, T.J. Cox and Josh Harder — warned state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D), author of the bill, and Newsom that the measure could impede voluntary agreements on apportioning water. They said it could spark conflicts over the differences between state and federal laws and hurt Central Valley farmers.

Audubon California Executive Director Sarah Rose lamented the veto.

“California has missed an important opportunity to protect the state’s residents, habitats, and imperiled wildlife,” Rose said. “President Trump and his administration have been aggressively weakening standards for clean air, clean water, and wildlife protections. Without SB 1, California will be less prepared to defend itself and its natural resources.”