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Nationally recognized Climate Protection Authority signed by Governor


 Nationally recognized Climate Protection Authority signed by Governor

Senator Mike McGuire’s bill that allows for the continuation of the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority – in perpetuity – was signed by Governor Brown last week. The organization was set to sunset in 2019.

“Due to the incredible work of the Regional Climate Protection Authority, Sonoma County is far exceeding its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “The RCPA does amazing work and this bill eliminates the sunset clause which will allow the organization to continue with its nationally recognized programs and services.” 

One of the real strengths the RCPA offers is inclusion. Many towns and cities have limited budgets – they are smaller in population – and do not have discretionary funds that can be invested in implementing needed climate action strategies. The regional approach offered by the RCPA allows all participating communities to contribute and strengthen reductions of greenhouse gases.

The Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority is governed by a 12 member Board of Directors comprised of representatives from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and council members from each of the nine cities – Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Windsor.

“RCPA is grateful for the leadership of Senator Mike McGuire and for his diligent work on repealing the sunset. With this change, RCPA can continue the important work of climate protection through our countywide coordination and we remain focused on clean energy, alternative transportation, efficient buildings and conservation planning efforts,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, RCPA Chair.

The RCPA has established a national model for aggressive climate change action. In fact, in 2014, the White House recognized the RCPA as a Climate Action Champion for Leadership on Climate Change. 

The RCPA has lead and supported programs that have contributed to a reduction in communitywide GHG emissions from historic levels, at over 300,000 metric tons per year. Specific successes include launching a community choice energy program that has already reduced emissions by 48%, offering PACE and Pay As You Save (PAYS) financing tools that have served thousands of properties in saving water, energy, and money, and engaging hundreds of residents in local climate action efforts through workshops, conferences and community events. 

Through their direct program efforts, the RCPA has saved over 9.2 million gallons of water, 288,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, 73,000 therms of natural gas, and provided over $1 million in monetary tools to over 700 voluntary residential participants.

“RCPA’s success is proof that positive change on our planet’s most significant environmental challenge, climate change, can happen at the local level,” Senator McGuire said.

SB 1030 was co-authored by local legislators, Senator Lois Wolk and Assemblymembers Bill Dodd, Marc Levine and Jim Wood.