Green pressure increases on OHV in California

The California Resources Agency oversees the OHV Division

Submitted by Lisa Lien-Mager on Wed, 01/05/2011 – 12:49pm in Water News

Gov. Jerry Brown has tapped former Assembly Member John Laird as the new secretary of the California Resources Agency.

Laird, who served in the Assembly from 2002 to 2008, most recently taught in the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to his time in the Assembly, Laird served in a number of local government positions in the Santa Cruz area. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully in the special election to replace Senator Abel Maldonado in the 15th Senate District.

During his Senate campaign, Laird highlighted his strong environmental credentials, including his record on water management issues. A big proponent of water conservation, Laird introduced numerous bills aimed at reducing water use in California. AB 2496 and AB 715 both sought to phase in efficiency requirements for toilets. Laird also sought to tie water districts’ ability to receive state grant and loan funds to their adherence to certain conservation best management practices. In 2008, Laird introduced AB 2270, a measure that sought to regulate residential water softeners. AB 2270 was supported by ACWA but ultimately vetoed by the Governor.

Laird was not a member of the Legislature when the Comprehensive Water Package of 2009 passed.

While in the Assembly, Laird chaired the Select Committee on California Water Needs and Climate Change. Some of his other legislative accomplishments include a bill to create the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, as well as a law that requires state water agencies to develop a water use and measurement database. Notably, he was a co-author of AB 32, the landmark legislation that will regulate greenhouse emissions in California.

Laird was deeply involved in the legislative budgetary process, serving as Assembly Budget Committee Chair starting in 2004. His knowledge of the state budget should be an asset to the Resources Agency during California’s continued budgetary difficulties.