Dear Mary, There’s a special happiness—elation even—that comes from working hard to get legislation passed and then signed into law.
Last October, thanks to the efforts of so many Sierra Club members, we experienced that happiness when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 262, the Buy Clean California Act introduced by Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
Then the reality set in: We’ve got to make sure this bill is appropriately implemented.
Implementation is the roll-up-your-sleeves kind of work that doesn’t get much notice. But it’s critical for moving a bill from being a great idea to actually being something that solves a problem.
The Buy Clean California Act is intended to make sure that when the state starts large infrastructure projects—roads, bridges, buildings—the key materials will be produced by manufacturers who are not among the most polluting.
Instead, the materials—structural steel, carbon steel rebar, window glass and a certain kind of insulation—will be purchased from manufacturers who have invested in cleaner energy and technologies to cut their climate pollution.
The bill puts to work some strategies for buying clean that have been used successfully by private industry, including relying on established and credible labeling systems, called Environmental Product Declarations, that manufacturers can use to disclose their climate pollution.
Since the bill was signed into law, staff at the Department of General Services (DGS), the agency that oversees procurement policy, has been preparing its implementation plan for the bill. Mostly, that has meant a lot of behind-the-scenes research, analysis and discussions with other agencies and stakeholders to understand everything they can about buying clean.
That agency was not enthusiastic about the bill when it was awaiting signing by the governor. Now that it is law, the staff has dug in and seems determined to meet the bill’s requirements.
This is brand new law. Nobody else has done anything like it in the U.S. Some legislators in other states are already considering introducing their own Buy Clean law, which would encourage even more manufacturers to reduce pollution levels.
DGS staff have a bigger-than-average audience and a bigger-than-average responsibility to implement the Buy Clean California Act effectively. And, as one of the organizations whose staff and volunteers worked hard across the state to push for the Buy Clean bill’s passage, we have a bigger-than-average responsibility to participate in implementation.
Sometime in the next month or two, we expect DGS to have its first public meeting on its proposed approach to implement Buy Clean. After that, we anticipate more conversations and comment opportunities, and we may be calling on you for help.
You can monitor DGS’ approach to Buy Clean on a http://click.emails.sierraclub.org/?qs=5766c2e90864d9e0b108bf71ecd031b988a83a85fbc0e8dbc9089d59580e99a9a6cf131a0ca76fee1e868ab45bc3723274d2097e73a6d860 webpage the agency has established.
In the meantime, Sierra Club California organizer Molly Culton is pulling together materials to help our local activists around the state become involved in public education about Buy Clean in their own communities. She’s preparing an advocacy kit for local activists who want to bring the Buy Clean policy to their local governments. She’s setting up meetings to talk to local chapter activists around the state.
Just like the State of California, city and county governments procure a lot of materials for roads and buildings. If they adopt Buy Clean policies, they’ll help motivate manufacturers to produce clean and cut climate pollution.
Molly is looking for volunteers to help at every level of the campaign. She’s eager to see every jurisdiction buy clean. http://click.emails.sierraclub.org/?qs=5766c2e90864d9e04089556bc06333caa00b8f289219635518b61add7059082e6796d764541aa1743224473dd1e835cf5a624f8623e39184356b3fa6ff107b11 Sign up here if you want to help in any way. Or, drop her an email at email@example.com if you have questions.
And for all of you who helped get the Buy Clean bill across the line and signed into law, thanks for getting us halfway to our goal. Now the other half—implementation—has begun.
Sincerely, Kathryn Phillips Director
Thank you for being a part of our work! You may securely donate online or by sending a check to Sierra Club California at 909 12th Street, Suite 202, Sacramento, CA 95814.
http://click.emails.sierraclub.org/?qs=5766c2e90864d9e0c2b38224f61d4c976b452ea93ef36fb79a872b2b98838d1f65871ae8ad063bf8c149d8605be8f6b7000a3f9738bce8e3 Sierra Club California