California Proposition 128, Environmental Protection Act (1990)

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California Proposition 128, or the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, was on the November 6, 1990 ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. Its supporters referred to Prop 128 as Big Green.

Proposition 128, if it had passed, would have made significant changes to California's laws governing pesticides and food safety, air pollution emissions, old-growth redwood forest preservation, marine and coastal resources protection, and the coordination and enforcement of state environmental laws.

Election results

Proposition 128
Defeatedd No4,760,02264.35%
Yes 2,636,663 35.65%

Ballot summary

Proposition 128's official ballot summary said:

  • Requires regulation of pesticide use to protect food and agricultural worker safety
  • Phases out use on food of pesticides known to cause cancer or reproductive harm, chemicals that potentially deplete ozone layer.
  • Requires reduced emissions of gases contributing to global warming. Limits oil, gas extraction within bay, estuarine and ocean waters. Requires oil spill prevention, contingency plans.
  • Creates prevention, response fund from fees on oil deliveries.
  • Establishes water quality criteria, monitoring plans. Creates elective office of Environmental Advocate.
  • Appropriates $40,000,000 for environmental research.
  • Authorizes $300,000,000 general obligation bonds for ancient redwoods acquisition, forestry projects.

Fiscal impact

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • Annual state administrative and program costs of approximately $90 million, decreasing in future years; partially offset by $10 million increased annual fee revenue.
  • Local governments would incur $8 million one-time cost; $5 million to $10 million annually, decreasing in future years.
  • State General Fund to incur one-time $750,000 appropriation in 1992-93 for Office of Environmental Advocate, future office administrative costs unknown; $40 million for environmental research grants.
  • If all bonds authorized for ancient redwood acquisition, forestry projects were sold at 7.5 percent interest and paid over the typical 20-year period, General Fund would incur approximately $535 million in costs to pay off principal ($300 million) and interest ($235 million).
  • Estimated average annual costs of bond principal and interest would be $22 million.
  • Per-barrel fee on oil would increase revenues by $500 million by 1996-97, used to pay oil spill prevention/clean-up costs. Indefinite deferral of potentially $2 billion in future state oil and gas revenues resulting from limits on oil and gas leases in marine waters.
  • Indirect fiscal impact could increase or decrease state and local government program costs and revenues from general and special taxes in an unknown amount. The overall impact is unknown.

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