In summary

Democrats in the California Legislature, wary of as-yet unknown environmental polices to come from the Trump White House, have moved to preempt potential federal rollbacks by introducing a trio of bills to maintain existing state protections—both for the environment and for the scientists who study it.

Fear has a way of focusing the mind.

Democrats in the California Legislature, wary of as-yet unknown environmental policies to come from the Trump White House, aim to preempt potential federal rollbacks by introducing a trio of bills maintaining existing state protections—both for the environment and for the scientists who study it.

“Californians can’t afford to go back to the days of unregulated pollution,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles said at a press conference today. “So we’re not going to let this administration or any other undermine our progress.”

De León introduced SB 49, which instructs state and local agencies to at least maintain current standards for clean air, water and drinking water regardless of how federal policy may change. It also prohibits removing protections that are covered for now under the federal Endangered Species Act and worker safety rules.

Sen. Ben Allen of Santa Monica offered SB 50, which would revise state policy to make it more difficult to sell federal land to developers, instead requiring it to first be offered to the State Lands Commission.

The third bill, introduced by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, would help shield the right of environmental and climate change scientists—be they public employees or working for government contractors—to speak to the media and report agency wrongdoing. SB 51 protects them from losing their professional licenses or being brought before state boards for doing so. It also seeks to insulate scientific information from censorship or deletion by federal agencies.

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Julie Cart joined CalMatters as a projects and environment reporter in 2016 after a long career at the Los Angeles Times, where she held many positions: sportswriter, national correspondent and environment...