RCRC is pleased to sponsor Assembly Bill 2902, authored by Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg). This measure seeks to provide additional flexibility to local governments implementing the CalRecycle’s SB 1383 organic waste diversion regulations. 

CalRecycle’s SB 1383 regulations impose many requirements on local agencies; are generally tailored to work within the solid waste collection system that exists in urban areas; and are often poorly suited to deal with the needs and challenges of lower-population and rural areas.  The regulations provide very little flexibility to accommodate differing local needs, meaning the greatest implementation challenges and cost increases will likely occur in rural and sparsely populated areas of the state. 

AB 2902 extends the existing rural exemption under which the state’s 19 counties with fewer than 70,000 residents (and cities within those counties) are exempt from SB 1383’s collection and procurement obligations. Those 19 counties are Lake; San Benito; Tehama; Tuolumne; Calaveras; Siskiyou; Amador; Lassen; Glenn; Del Norte; Colusa; Inyo; Plumas; Mariposa; Trinity; Mono; Modoc; Sierra; and Alpine.  The bill also provides three years for rural jurisdictions that outgrow that population cap to come into full compliance with SB 1383. 

For slightly larger counties, AB 2902 allows the 12 non-rural counties that generate less than 200,000 tons of solid waste annually (El Dorado, Humboldt, Imperial, Kings, Mendocino, Madera, Napa, Nevada, Shasta, Yuba, Sutter, and Yolo Counties) to submit an alternative organic waste management plan for most of their unincorporated areas to CalRecycle for approval.  That process is expected to provide more flexibility for CalRecycle to take into consideration and accommodate unique local needs and challenges. 

AB 2902 also seeks to provide more flexibility for CalRecycle to consider granting additional “elevation waivers” for areas below 4,500’ in elevation and where nearby bear populations pose a public safety and animal welfare risk.  Other components of AB 2902 seek to increase local benefits from edible food recovery programs; sustain the use of organics for local animal feed practices; promote carbon farming; adjust procurement targets to exclude populations covered by exemptions; facilitate the development of smaller-scale community composting programs; and reinforce existing caselaw that local compost and mulch give aways as well as rebates are not a gift of public funds. 

RCRC’s letter of support is available here RCRC strongly suggests that counties send individual support letters. A template that can (and should) be tailored by counties to reflect their needs and priorities can be downloaded here.  For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, John Kennedy