Air Resources Board Approves Zero Emission Truck Replacement Rule

Over the last two days, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Board heard the final update to staff’s Advanced Clean Fleet (ACF) regulation. CARB Staff presented the final draft version of the rule, which is set to require businesses that dispatch or own 50 or more vehicles, or have $50 million or more in receipts, to begin replacing and upgrading their fleets with Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV’s) starting in 2025. The Board heard from over 120 different commenters, and debated for more than two hours before motioning to approve the regulation. It was approved unanimously by the Board, but with some additional emphasis being placed on impacts to industry.

The Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, provided comments specifically identifying the current delays with utility interconnectivity. Speaking on years long delays to connect well pumps, farm shops, even major processing facilities, McGlothlin emphasized that the utility companies are not ready for the manufactured demand for system upgrades that this rule creates. Speaking after public comments were provided, several Board Members echoed those concerns in regard to interconnectivity, and directed staff to work with industry and various stakeholders to stay on top of direct needs on the infrastructure side. Stay tuned for more updates!

Reclamation Bolsters Central Valley Project 2023 Water Supply Allocations 

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation announced it is increasing Central Valley Project 2023 water supply allocations for irrigation water service and repayment contractors. Both north- and south-of-Delta contractors are increased to 100% from 80%. All other CVP water supply allocations remain the same as noted in the March 28 announcement. Current status of all CVP allocations are:

North-of-Delta Contractors

Sacramento River

  • Irrigation water service and repayment contractors north-of-Delta are allocated 100% of their contract supply.  
  • Municipal and industrial water service and repayment contractors north-of-Delta are allocated 100% of their contract supply.
  • Sacramento River Settlement Contractors’ water supply is based upon settlement of claimed senior water rights. The 2023 water year is determined as non-critical, as defined in their Settlement Contracts, which allows for 100% of their contract supply.

American River

  • M&I water service and repayment contractors north-of-Delta who are serviced by Folsom Reservoir on the American River are allocated 100% of their contract supply.

In-Delta Contractors

  • M&I water service and repayment contractors who are serviced directly from the Delta are allocated 100% of their contract supply.

South-of-Delta Contractors

  • Irrigation water service and repayment contractors south-of-Delta are allocated 100% of their contract total.
  • M&I water service and repayment contractors south-of-Delta are allocated 100% of their contract supply
  • San Joaquin River Settlement Contractors and San Joaquin Exchange Contractors’ water supply is based upon settlement/exchange of claimed senior water rights. The 2023 water year is determined as non-critical, as defined in their contracts, which allows for 100% of their contract supply.

Eastside Water Contractors

  • Eastside water service contractors (Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District and Stockton East Water District) are allocated 100% of their contract total.

Wildlife Refuges

  • The 2023 water year is currently determined as non-critical, as defined in their contracts, which allows for 100% of contract supply for wildlife refuges (Level 2), both north- and south-of-Delta.

Friant Division Contractors

  • Friant Division contractors’ water supply is delivered from Millerton Reservoir on the upper San Joaquin River via the Madera and Friant-Kern canals. The first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply is considered Class 1; Class 2 is considered the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet. Given the current hydrologic conditions, the Friant Division water supply allocation is 100% of Class 1 and 70% of Class 2 (from the initial 20% allocation).

Dept. Of Interior Announces Nearly $585 Million to Repair Aging Water Infrastructure, Advance Drought Resilience

This week, the US Department of the Interior announced a nearly $585 million investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for infrastructure repairs on water delivery systems throughout the West. Funding will go to 83 projects in 11 states to improve water conveyance and storage, increase safety, improve hydro power generation and provide water treatment.  The projects selected for funding are found in all the major river basins and regions where Reclamation operates. Among the 83 projects selected for funding are efforts to increase canal capacity, provide water treatment for Tribes, replace equipment for hydropower production and provide necessary maintenance to aging project buildings. Projects will be funded in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.  The projects identified for California’s Central Valley Project includes:

Central Valley Project -

  • $25 million for the Jones Pumping Plant Excitation Cabinet and Control Panel Refurbishment
  • $25 million for the Delta Mendota Canal Subsidence Correction Project
  • $22.2 million for the Friant Kern Canal Capacity Correction
  • $42.53 million for the San Luis Unit – Gianelli Pump-Generating Plan Unit 8 Motor Generator, Turbine and Butterfly Valve Replacement
  • $10 million for Nimbus Fish Hatchery Nursery Phase IV Modernization
  • $14.74 million for Shasta Dam Refurbishment Tube Valves
  • $10 million for Shasta Dam Temperature Control Device
  • $42.25 million for Trinity Division, Spring Creek Power Transformer Replacement
  • $65.9 million for Trinity River Fish Hatchery Building Modernization

Commissioner Lara and FAIR Plan reach agreement to increase commercial coverage limit to $20 million

As part of his comprehensive effort to give more insurance options to California residents and businesses, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced last week the California FAIR Plan Association has agreed to more than double its existing commercial coverage limits to $20 million for businesses unable to find coverage in the normal insurance marketplace. The FAIR Plan is an association comprised of all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California and designed to be the state’s property “insurer of last resort,” writing coverage for businesses and residences when other insurance options are not available.  Commissioner Lara and the FAIR Plan have been working on this issue since the Commissioner’s investigatory hearing into the FAIR Plan last July where homeowners associations, youth recreational camps, agricultural groups, and other businesses spoke about the growing need for greater commercial coverage limits.   Association President/CEO Roger A. Isom testified at that hearing specifically asking for an increase to at least $20 million in coverage.  “Giving businesses greater options for insurance coverage is a top priority of mine. I am pleased the FAIR Plan is stepping up when insurance companies fall short in providing businesses and homeowners access to the coverage they need,” said Commissioner Lara. Today's agreement signed by Commissioner Lara and FAIR Plan President Victoria Roach will increase the combined coverage limits for the FAIR Plan, under its Division I Commercial Property Program, from $8.4 million to $20 million per location and, under its Division II Businessowners Program, from $7.2 million to $20 million per location.  State legislators, including Senator Toni Atkins and Senator Susan Rubio joined Commissioner Lara’s call for an increased commercial coverage limit at the FAIR Plan in letters sent earlier this year.  The new coverage limits will take effect after the FAIR Plan submits a new rule filing for approval by the Department of Insurance. The FAIR Plan has 60 days to submit a rule filing to the Department, with the goal of the Department approving these coverage limit increases, meaning coverage could be available in the fourth quarter.

CalOSHA Formally Proposes “Indoor Heat Illness Regulation”

The CalOSHA Standards Board has released notice the plan to hear the new Section 3396 – Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment.  This new regulation would affect all indoor work areas where the temperature equals or exceeds 82 °F when employees are present.  In these areas the employer must provide a mandatory “cool down area” that is less than 82 °F.  in addition the employer must monitor the temperature and heat index at all times.  Further, the employer must provide engineering controls to bring temperatures down to 87 °F.  Employers will also have to develop and implement emergency response procedures, employee training, supervisor training and have a written Heat Illness Prevention Plan (HIPP).  The proposed standard is set to be heard by the Standards Board in May.  The Association is opposing the proposed standard as currently written.

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Governor Signs Ag Overtime Bill

Ignoring the pleas of real farmworkers and the agricultural industry, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 1066, the ag overtime legislation. This means that California will have the most stringent trigger of any state in the country for overtime for farmworkers, with 45 states having no overtime protection at all. The Governor signed this bill, supposedly to bring “equality to all workers”, yet taxi cab drivers, commercial fishermen, car salesmen, student nurses, computer programmers, and carnival workers all work without any overtime provisions whatsoever. The Governor signed this ag overtime bill in the same year that minimum wage legislation was also passed that will take California to the highest minimum wage as well as legislation forcing California to adopt additional greenhouse gas regulations for businesses in California. California is the only state in the country subject to such regulations. Today’s signing occurred despite numerous requests by the agricultural industry to meet with the Governor to discuss our concerns. The message is clear. California simply doesn’t care. These provisions will be phased in over the next few years ending with the overtime provisions to be triggered at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

In the Beginning As folks transitioned out of cotton and into tree nuts, the industry recognized the need to have active and effective representation at the local, state and national levels. Having enjoyed such effective representation over the years from the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, these folks yearned for the same representation in the tree nut processing industry. Issues such as air quality, food safety, labor, taxes, employee safety, and environmental concerns are at the forefront, and there is a significant need for an aggressive and dynamic Association to lead the industry into the next decade and beyond. In recognition of this, the Western Agricultural Processors Association was created in 2009. The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) shares staff and office space with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations taking advantage of a unique and opportunistic situation. WAPA is a voluntary dues organization with four shared staff and one dedicated staff person. Regulatory, legislative and legal issues fall under the purview of this new organization for the tree nut processing industry, which includes almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. From air quality permits to conditional use permits, from regulatory hearings on greenhouse gases to federal legislation on food safety, and from OSHA violations to assisting members on hazardous materials business plans, no issue is too small or too large for WAPA. WAPA has assembled one of the best and most capable staffs in the industry, and the results are already starting to show Membership The Western Agricultural Processors Association represents facilities involved in the processing of almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.Membership in the Association is classified as Regular memberships are limited to almond hullers or processors, pecan and pistachio processors, and walnut dehydrators and processors. Associate memberships are limited to any individual or business entity which is not engaged in agricultural processing, but which provides products or services directly related to the agricultural processing industry. WAPA Associate members include, but are not limited to, commodity brokers, accounting firms, and insurance brokers. Organization The Western Agricultural Processors Association is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by its membership.The Board consists of up to 15 members from throughout the state, and throughout the industry.The Board meets on a quarterly basis and conducts an Annual Meeting in the spring of each year.WAPA, in conjunction with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, conducts a special training school for its members focused on safety.In combination with the school, the Association holds a Labor Management Seminar for all of the managers. Consulting Services In researching and considering the concept of forming a new organization, the Boards of Directors for the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations instructed staff to perform some of the work on a consulting basis first. The point was to determine the workload from consulting and to determine if there was sufficient interest. In November of 2007, the Association began conducting services under consulting contracts for such services as air quality permits and safety plans.The effort has been so successful that demand has progressed outside the tree nut industry into other agricultural processing facilities, including vegetable dehydration facilities, tomato processing facilities, and wheat mills, as well as cotton gins in Arizona.It was determined by the new Board of Directors of WAPA, that WAPA would maintain the consulting services to provide offsetting income to help with the expenses of getting the new organization up and running.Today, WAPA provides for a long list of satisfied clients in the agricultural processing industry, by providing critical services such as air quality, safety, food safety, and environmental issues (Hazardous Materials Business Plan, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans, etc.).