The Barbed Wire - December 1, 2023

December 1, 2023
DTSC Releases Final Hazardous Waste Management Report
All Counties Are Eligible for Annual Grant Funding, Deadline Approaches
U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Level Playing Field for Rural Communities
Bipartisan Recreation Package Expands Outdoor Access and Opportunities on Public Lands and Waters

DTSC Releases Final Hazardous Waste Management Report

On November 28, the Department of Toxic Substances Control released its Final Hazardous Waste Management Report.  The report is the first step in a deeper, systemic evaluation of how the state handles and regulates hazardous waste.  It takes a close look at how and where the state manages hazardous waste, where generators and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities are located, and what is considered hazardous in California compared to the rest of the country.  The report also contains an Appendix with detailed profiles about the number of generators, locations, and types of hazardous waste generated on a county-by-county basis.

The report notes that the number of generators has significantly increased while the quantity of wastes generated has declined. Still the lack of in-state facilities for treatment and disposal is concerning. Contaminated soil, used oil, and inorganic debris make up 65% of hazardous waste. Surprisingly, 81 percent of hazardous waste generated in California isn’t considered “hazardous” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and isn’t regulated as hazardous by many other states.

RCRC provided detailed comments on DTSC’s Draft Hazardous Waste Management Report, arguing that the state needs to:  ensure it has adequate capacity to manage hazardous waste; increase the convenience and availability of disposal opportunities; find ways to facilitate the in-state treatment, processing, and disposal of hazardous waste; and take a closer look at what it considers to be hazardous waste in the first place.  Recognizing the critical role local governments play in operating local household hazardous waste collection facilities and the fact that it sometimes costs local governments more to dispose of household hazardous waste than it costs consumers to buy the product in the marketplace, RCRC urged DTSC to find a way for manufacturers to take a larger role in the end-of-life management of goods they introduce into the stream of commerce.

For more information, contact John Kennedy, RCRC Senior Policy Advocate.

All Counties Are Eligible for Annual Grant Funding, Deadline Approaches

In early September, the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) released a Departmental Letter that provides guidance on how counties can receive annual funds to support coordinating and facilitating collaborative County Stakeholder Workgroups that target strategies and seek solutions to reduce the criminalization of individuals with serious mental illnesses in their communities and reduce the number of individuals who are determined to be incompetent to stand trial (IST) on felony charges. 

Counties are encouraged to take advantage of the $100,000 annual funding to support local stakeholders and collaborative efforts.  

All counties are eligible to receive annual funding for participating in the collaborative community stakeholder workgroup program. DSH has extended the deadline to participate in the program. Counties must submit a completed Letter of Intent to by COB December 31, 2023, to enter into a contract effective July 1, 2024.  

Counties that currently have community collaborative workgroup contracts or are in the process of having a community collaborative workgroup contract with DSH, and counties that have already submitted an LOI do not need to reapply. See the DSH Departmental Letter for more details.  For additional information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate, Sarah Dukett


U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Level Playing Field for Rural Communities

On November 15, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced the Rural Partnership and Prosperity Act of 2023 (S. 3309), a bipartisan legislative initiative aimed at advancing economic development in rural counties and overcoming barriers to accessing federal funding and resources. With over 70 percent of the nation's 3,069 counties classified as rural, many face challenges in competing for federal investment opportunities due to insufficient funding, capacity, and staffing. The significance of this legislation lies in its targeted approach to addressing these shortcomings through a whole-of-government effort, providing crucial assistance to rural counties and the communities they serve. 

The bill establishes the Rural Partnership Program, offering multiyear, flexible funding awards to partnerships involving two or more rural stakeholders, including county governments, to address pressing needs in specific rural communities. Additionally, the legislation introduces Rural Prosperity Technical Assistance grants to support technical assistance providers operating in rural areas, aiding counties in pursuing funding and executing community development initiatives. The bill further expands the Rural Partners Network (RPN), a USDA-led initiative deploying federal staff to rural communities to facilitate easier access to federal resources. Overall, the bill would provide much needed technical and financial assistance to RCRC’s counties. A one-pager is available here

Bipartisan Recreation Package Expands Outdoor Access and Opportunities on Public Lands and Waters

On November 29, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) announced the introduction of the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act (H.R. 6492).  

The EXPLORE Act is a comprehensive, bipartisan, and bicameral initiative resulting from a yearlong effort to enhance legislation facilitating greater access to outdoor recreation opportunities. This legislation aims to streamline permitting processes, reduce bureaucratic hurdles for recreation service providers, modernize technology to enhance visitor services, and create new prospects for individual recreation activities such as biking and rock climbing. 

Additionally, the EXPLORE Act seeks to improve access and transform outdoor recreation experiences for various groups, including military service-members, veterans, Gold Star Families, individuals with disabilities, and children. The bill addresses critical challenges faced by federal land managers, including park overcrowding, outdated technology, a lack of affordable housing, diminished visitor experiences, and deteriorating recreation infrastructure. Of great importance is the inclusion of the LODGE Act (H.R. 1314) which RCRC supported earlier this year; the LODGE Act would enable public-private partnerships for housing construction on federal park land for federal employees.  



Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.


$1.5 Billion Available through the 2024 RAISE Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $1.5 billion in grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program for 2024. The program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact. RAISE discretionary grants help project sponsors at the state and local levels, including municipalities, Tribal governments, counties, and others complete critical freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects. The eligibility requirements of RAISE allow project sponsors to obtain funding for projects that may be harder to support through other U.S. DOT grant programs. For recent examples of funded projects, see the list of 2023 awarded projects here.

RAISE projects are reviewed and evaluated on statutory criteria of safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, mobility and community connectivity, economic competitiveness and opportunity including tourism, state of good repair, partnership and collaboration, and innovation. Projects designated “RCN Program Extra” during the new FY 2023 Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program competition and submitted for consideration under the FY 2024 RAISE NOFO will have a greater opportunity to be advanced during the FY 2024 RAISE evaluation process, as described in the NOFO.  

Half of the funding will go to projects in rural areas, and half of the funding will go to projects in urban areas. At least $15 million in funding is guaranteed to go towards projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities, and projects located in these areas will be eligible for up to 100 percent federal cost share, as directed by Congress in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

As in previous years, the Department is encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity, and remove barriers to opportunity. The Department also intends to use the RAISE program to support lowering costs for household budgets, wealth creation and the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, the incorporation of strong labor standards, and training and placement programs, especially registered apprenticeships. 

The NOFO is available here. The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM EST on February 28, 2024, and selections will be announced no later than June 27, 2024.


HCD Launches New Codes and Standards Online Services Portal

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has launched a new, user-friendly online portal — Codes and Standards Online Services (C&S OS). C&S OS is designed for the public, HCD business partners, and Codes and Standards customers to access many HCD services online. 

C&S OS features include: 

  • Track the status of your application or complaint
  • Submit some mobilehome permit and registration and titling applications online – anytime, from anywhere
  • No additional fees required
  • Google Translate™ available in several languages

With C&S OS, you can now:

  • Apply for duplicate title and registration cards 
  • Update registered and legal owner addresses
  • Apply for alteration permits and insignia inspections
  • Request a technical service inspection
  • And more!

More services are coming soon! Check the HCD website often for new services and application types. C&S OS can be accessed through the HCD website:

For more information, see Information Bulletin 2023-01.

Questions? Please email


Career Opportunities

  • Shasta County Probation Department is seeking a Chief Fiscal Officer. Full time. Salary range $83,340.00 - $106,368.00 annually. Closes December 7, 2023, at 5:00 PM. For details or to apply, see here.  
  • Yolo County is seeking a Senior Personnel Analyst to join the Yolo County HR team. Full time. Salary range $100,068.80 - $121,638.40 annually. Closes December 1, 2023, at 11:59 PM. For details or to apply, see here.


CARB Clean Truck Check Outreach Kit Available

By January 2024, all trucks driving in California must comply with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Clean Truck Check (CTC), formerly known as the Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program, approved in 2021. CARB has made outreach materials available to assist with the three-phase implementation. View the Clean Truck Check Outreach Kit and additional information here.



Access the State Grants Portal for a Multitude of Funding Opportunities

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to public agencies and other entities, including tribes and businesses. Grant seekers can access a centralized portal of grant and loan opportunities here, or sign up to receive new grant opportunities delivered straight to your inbox


Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.


Tomiquia Moss, of Oakland, has been appointed Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. Moss has been Founder and CEO of All Home since 2019. She was CEO of Hamilton Families from 2017 to 2019. Moss served as Chief of Staff in the Oakland Mayor’s Office from 2015 to 2017. She was Executive Director of HOPE SF within the San Francisco Mayor’s Office from 2013 to 2015. She is Board President of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. Moss earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Government from Ohio Wesleyan University. This position requires Senate confirmation, and the compensation is $232,858. Moss is a Democrat. 


RCRC press releases and related news clips about RCRC and our member counties. Please note that a subscription may be required to read some external publications.


Sites Reservoir project finally gets green light, construction expected to begin in 2024 – Capital Public Radio

About 80 miles north of Sacramento, the planned Sites Reservoir, approved under Governor Newsom's streamlined plan, aims to address dry-year water scarcity. Unlike traditional dams, it's an off-river storage basin, drawing water from the Sacramento River during high flow and saving it for dry periods. Projected to start construction in 2024, completing by 2030, it could store substantial water during wet years, benefitting diverse regions. Despite environmental concerns and debates, proponents emphasize its role in managing water resources, especially during periods of scarcity.


California hospital closes, leaving rural areas without care – The Washington Post

Madera County, California faces a healthcare crisis with the closure of Madera Community Hospital, leaving expectant mothers a 40-minute drive to the nearest alternative. The shutdown highlights disparities in government insurance reimbursements for rural hospitals, exacerbating financial fragility. Amidst the pandemic's aftermath, 1 in 5 California hospitals, particularly in rural areas, are at risk of closure. Lawmakers seek solutions, proposing initiatives like the Rural Hospital Technical Assistance Program Act. Efforts to reopen Madera Community involve a $50 million state loan and potential operation by Adventist Health. The situation underscores the broader challenge of sustaining rural healthcare in California.


The Salton Sea has even more lithium than previously thought – Los Angeles Times

A new federal analysis led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that California's Salton Sea may contain 18 million metric tons of lithium, making it a valuable resource for electric vehicle batteries and home energy storage. The estimate, higher than past guesses, positions the Salton Sea as an environmentally friendly source of lithium compared to other extraction sites, facing less opposition from conservation activists. Several companies are racing to tap into this resource, with the potential to contribute significantly to clean energy efforts and climate goals. However, challenges such as the corrosive nature of the underground brine and the need for additional geothermal energy still exist. The estimate is considered a best-case scenario, and further research is underway to understand the resource's sustainability.