The Barbed Wire - October 22, 2021

October 22, 2021
RCRC Partners with the California Fire Foundation to Provide Wildfire Relief Funding in Rural County Communities
RCRC Provides Feedback on Allocation of Future Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Moneys
Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee Markup
Remaining Senate FY2022 Appropriations Bills Released
Infrastructure and Surface Transportation Reauthorization Update

RCRC Partners with the California Fire Foundation to Provide Wildfire Relief Funding in Rural County Communities

RCRC and its affiliated entity, Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA), have partnered with the California Fire Foundation (CFF) to provide $50,000 in wildfire relief funding to rural county communities impacted by catastrophic wildfires. CFF will disburse the funds directly to fire victims in rural counties for the purchase of necessities through their Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program following qualifying fire events.

The SAVE program brings immediate, short-term relief to those impacted through the distribution of gift cards directly to victims of fire or other natural disaster by frontline firefighters. These gift cards aid individuals in purchasing basic necessities such as food, temporary housing, or clothing. With this contribution, CFF will distribute 200 gift cards to eligible residents in RCRC and GSFA rural member counties for the purchase of necessities during and immediately after qualifying wildfire events.

CFF is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that provides emotional and financial assistance to victims of fire, firefighters, and the families of fallen firefighters. CFF launched the SAVE program in 2014 and has impacted more than 55,000 victims in California to date. Additional information regarding the SAVE program is available at Read the full press release here

RCRC Provides Feedback on Allocation of Future Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Moneys

On October 15, RCRC provided formal comments to the California Energy Commission (CEC) on the future allocation of Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) investments. The EPIC Program annually allocates approximately $130 million in ratepayer funds to a wide variety of scientific and technological research to help the state meet its energy and climate goals.  

In late 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) renewed the EPIC surcharge for an additional ten years and authorized utilities to collect $148 million annually from ratepayers for those purposes. The CEC and CPUC held an en banc meeting on October 8th to discuss potential investment categories for the next phase of the EPIC Program. The proposed EPIC Phase 4 Investment Plan Summary outlines a wide variety of projects to increase the use of renewable energy, improve the resiliency and reliability of the electrical grid, facilitate in-state lithium production, promote in-state lithium-ion battery recycling, and reduce wildfire risk.  

RCRC testified at the October 8th meeting and urged the CEC and CPUC to leverage the EPIC program to improve energy reliability, reduce wildfire risk, increase in-state lithium production, and further lithium-ion battery recycling. RCRC’s comments to the CEC expand upon those oral comments and drive home the theme that California MUST improve energy reliability as a precursor to other technological advancements.

In particular, RCRC strongly promoted investing in biomass energy production as a way to meet the state’s wildfire risk reduction and forest health goals, help local governments meet their organic waste procurement mandates, and provide an alternative to the open burning of agricultural waste in the Central Valley.

RCRC also promoted using EPIC funds to develop offshore wind energy and to advance geothermal energy and lithium production.

RCRC noted that EPIC’s efforts to improve transportation electrification and charging should only come after the state improves energy reliability and expands access to charging infrastructure, including through the strategic deployment of energy-storage systems that promote local reliability.

Finally, RCRC cautioned that future development of bidirectional vehicle charging/discharging systems MUST incorporate safeguards so that residents will always be left with sufficient power in their vehicles to safely evacuate if the need arises.

Please contact RCRC Legislative Advocate, John Kennedy, with any questions.

Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee Markup

On Tuesday, Senator Alex Padilla testified before the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining in support of his bill, the PUBLIC Lands Act (S.1459).  This legislation would protect more than one million acres of public lands and well over 500 miles of rivers in California’s Northwest, Central Coast, and Los Angeles regions.  Senator Dianne Feinstein is an original cosponsor of the legislation in the Senate.  On the House side, the Protecting America’s Wilderness (PAW) Act (H.R. 803) passed the House on February 26th by a vote of 227-200.  The PAW Act includes federal public land conservations bills from Washington, Colorado, Arizona, and California, with California focused legislation being led by Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel), and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael).

Remaining Senate FY2022 Appropriations Bills Released

On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the remaining nine Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bills following the passage of previous three bills in August.  The package of appropriations bills includes a variety of funding priorities for California including:

  • $3.845 billion to fight wildfires. 
  • Increase in wildland firefighter pay to $15 per hour and converts seasonal positions to full-time positions to help reduce the federal shortage of firefighters.
  • More than $1 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure and drought resilience programs in California.
    • $258 million to fund California projects under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, including water storage projects, water recycling projects, habitat restoration and other environmental projects. 
    • $450 million in emergency drought funding.
    • $130 million for seismic retrofit of the B.F. Sisk Dam and other key California projects.
  • $2 million for a Homeless Youth Housing Campus in Monterey County.

Infrastructure and Surface Transportation Reauthorization Update

Throughout the week, President Biden met with both Democratic progressives and moderates as he sought to push the party’s two competing factions toward an agreement, with separate meetings with each group. Democrats have set October 31st as their internal deadline to come to an agreement on how to scale-down the reconciliation package, which would pave the way for the House to clear a separate bipartisan infrastructure package. Included in the bipartisan infrastructure package is a reauthorization of the “Highway Bill,” and if an agreement is not reached by the deadline, lawmakers will be forced to act on a second extension of highway and transit programs to avoid another lapse in authorization. Without an assurance of long-term funding for future road and bridge projects, some state officials have expressed concern about costly and disruptive delays to various projects. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said in a “dear colleague” letter last week that the House is aiming to consider the infrastructure and reconciliation bills during “this work period,” however the letter failed to set a date for a vote. The current stopgap measure is the 16th short-term highway extension since 2009.


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


California Water Commission Public Workshops to Explore Well-Managed Groundwater Trading Programs

The California Water Commission, in support of Water Resilience Portfolio Action 3.6, will hold public workshops to explore ways that the State can support in-basin, locally-led groundwater trading programs that ensure protections for communities, small- and medium-size farms, and the environment. The public is encouraged to share their ideas and concerns on groundwater trading at one or more of these scheduled workshops:   
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Register here 

Date: Friday, October 29, 2021
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Register here       

View Agenda 
For more information, call (916) 873-5774 or email 

The Commission will gather information and test assumptions at the workshops regarding opportunities and concerns around groundwater trading; potential impacts to ecosystems, farms, and communities; and an appropriate state role in groundwater trading. The Commission hopes to hear from diverse participants about how groundwater trading could impact or benefit them. 
The Commission will use the information gathered at these workshops to help formulate a policy paper with a set of conclusions around how to shape well-managed groundwater trading programs with appropriate safeguards for vulnerable water users. The Commission’s work will outline next steps the State could take to advance well-managed groundwater trading. The draft paper will be available for public comment before it is finalized in early 2022. For more information on the workshops and the Commission’s work on groundwater trading programs, visit  


UC ANR Continues Intense Hiring Efforts


UC ANR is continuing intense hiring efforts to meet current and future needs. Thanks to the increased 2021-22 state funding, eight more UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Advisor positions are now released for recruitment. The recruitments are being staged to avoid overwhelming the Human Resources department. To date 28 UCCE positions have been released over the past three months. The full list is posted and kept updated on the 2021 Release of UCCE Positions web page. There is also a table of the overall staged process.

VP Humiston plans to announce additional UCCE positions in mid-November and an additional 70 or so positions in late winter/spring 2022. The new position-proposal development process is underway. People across the ANR network have begun meeting and having conversations about priority proposals to meet current and future needs. More about this process is available on the 2021 Call for Positions web page.

Current UC ANR job listings are available here.


Cal OES Hazard Mitigation Summit Postponed to 2022

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Hazard Mitigation Policy Summit, previously scheduled for November 3, 2021, has been postponed to early 2022. For the latest information, continue to visit the Cal OES, Mitigation Planning website.


Career Opportunity - Tehama County Seeks Chief Administrator

Tehama County is seeking a Chief Administrator who will proactively and energetically serve as a leader in carrying out Board policies, and who will be creative in bringing forth options to solve problems. The position closes November 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. View the recruitment flyer, and for more information click here.


GO-Biz Cannabis Equity Grants Available for Eligible Local Jurisdictions

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced $35 million is available in FY 2021-22 for eligible cities and counties to promote equity and eliminate barriers to populations and communities that were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. Local jurisdictions can be awarded up to $75,000 for assistance on cannabis equity program development, or up to $7 million for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace. Grant applications must be received by December 13, 2021 and will be awarded no later than March 15, 2022. For more information on this grant and how to apply, see here

California Air Resources Board Offers Webinars on Regulatory Compliance Training

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is offering a variety of training webinars for regulatory compliance on issues affecting public fleets such as Off-Road Regulations, Truck and Bus Rules, and Diesel Truck Rules. 

The In-Use Off-Road Diesel-Fueled Fleets Regulation (Off-Road Regulation) requires fleet owners to report to CARB, label their off-road vehicles, and reduce emissions from older equipment.  This course provides detailed information to help fleet owners understand and comply with the Off-Road Regulation: 

Date:        December 9, 2021
Time:        1:00 p.m.
Webinar:   Register

The Compliance Overview: Truck & Bus Rule, Off-Road Regulation, and Portable Equipment course include the following topics:

Truck and Bus Regulation:

  • Regulation Applicability
  • Engine Model Year Schedule
  • Exemptions & Extensions
  • How to Report for Regulation Flexibilities
  • Broker and Dispatcher Requirements
  • DMV Registration

Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP):

  • Regulation Applicability
  • Program Updates

Advanced Clean Truck (ACT)

  • Manufacturers ZEV Sales Requirements
  • One-Time Reporting
  • Future ZEV Rules

In-Use Off-Road Diesel Vehicle Regulation:

  • Regulation Applicability
  • Requirements Currently in Effect
  • Future Compliance Deadlines

Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) & Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM):

  • PERP Eligibility
  • Program Requirements
  • ATCM Program & Updates
  • Enforcement & Inspections

Date:        December 16, 2021
Time:        1:00 p.m.
Webinar:   Register

CARB is also offering a new course to provide an overview of several new programs and they associated regulations that will help the state reach carbon neutrality:

Date:        October 26, 2021
Time:        1:00 p.m.
Webinar:   Register

Date:        November 9, 2021 (Date change: previously November 11)
Time:        1:00 p.m.
Webinar:   Register


FEMA Announces Application Period for 2021 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began accepting applications on September 30, 2021 for $1.16 billion in FY 2021 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants, providing localities the opportunity to receive Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grants. These grants recognize the growing hazards of extreme weather events and the need for risk mitigation activities to promote climate adaptation and resilience. The financial assistance through the BRIC program may fund state and local government pre-disaster capability and capacity building activities, mitigation projects, and cover management costs.

FEMA informational webinars can be accessed here, and more information can be viewed here or at The FEMA application period closes on January 28, 2022. 


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.