WAN Exclusive About The CA Deforestation-Free Procurement Act Advancing To The Senate Appropriations Committee; Bill Aims To Protect Forests & Wildlife

Earlier this week, The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act (AB 416), passed the Senate Governmental Organizational Committee. The critical bill was introduced earlier this year by California Assemblymember Ash Kalra, alongside co-sponsors, Peace 4 Animals, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), Friends of the Earth (FOE), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). This critical bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for review. There, AB 416 will be analyzed for its fiscal impact on the state of California.

As previously reported by WAN, if passed into law, California would become the first state in the nation to require procurement contracts to certify that operations and supply chains are not contributing to the destruction of tropical forests. All state contracts involving commodities such as: palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp, and timber would require contractors to maintain a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy. They would also have to certify that their operations are not linked to tropical forest destruction and degradation, or abuses of Indigenous peoples’ rights.

WAN talked exclusively with Nickolaus Sackett, Director of Legislative Affairs for Social Compassion in Legislation, following Tuesday’s committee meeting. Sackett was among those who testified during the meeting stressing the importance and urgency of passing AB 416 into law.

While amended to remove boreal forests due to pressure from the Canadian government, Sackett maintains that AB 416 remains a “simple bill,” further explaining that it will determine whether the government of California buys products from companies that are doing their best to protect our tropical forests, or if it will continue to purchase products produced by businesses that are driving the destruction of these forests, thus negatively affecting wildlife and endangered species.

Deforestation is a leading cause of climate change. There is a current rise in temperatures around the world, including in Canada, which recently experienced a heat wave that broke records, reaching a staggering 121 degrees last week.

“The Western United States is in a megadrought,” Sackett told WAN, further noting that California Governor Gavin Newsom recently declared a drought emergency in 41 of the state’s 58 counties. “Extreme temperatures, fire, and weather events dominate the news. This is not going to end. Our state is drying up, our planet is on the verge of burning up.”

According to Sackett, Californians of all parties’ support action on this issue. A recent poll conducted by pollster, Data Orbital, revealed that 84% of registered voters in the state are concerned about state procurement policies contributing to deforestation. This concern translated to 81% of Californians supporting the policy of this bill.

If advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which would take place during a hearing in mid-to-late August, the bill will then go to the Senate floor for a full vote. The bill has to be voted out of the Senate floor by September 10th. Governor Newsom will then have until October 10th to sign AB 416 into law.

Sackett encourages Californians to keep following WAN and SCIL for updates on this important bill and watch for future action alerts.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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