California AB 691 - State lands: granted trust lands: sea level rise

California Assembly Bill (AB) 691, authored by Assembly member Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), was signed by Governor Brown October 5, 2013. Effective January 1, 2014, this law will prepare California for the impacts of sea level rise by requiring holders of public trust lands to assess the impacts and report the results to the State Lands Commission.

California's coastal areas, including tidelands, are granted in trust by the Legislature to local jurisdictions for management purposes. Although the lands are managed locally, the State Lands Commission is vested with all residual jurisdiction and authority.

From the Assembly Floor analysis: "A local trustee's failure to plan for sea level rise may be considered a breach of its trust responsibilities since the trustee has a fiduciary duty to the people of California to take reasonable steps under the circumstances to take and keep control of and to preserve the trust property (this duty is codified in Public Resources Code Section 6009.1).  To assist in avoiding such a breach, this bill will require a local trustee to assess the impacts of sea level rise on granted public trust lands and describe how the local trustee proposes to protect those lands.  The local trustee is in the best position to conduct this assessment because it has the administrative control over its granted trust land and, in most cases, generates revenues off of the land, which must be used for purposes such as managing and preserving the trust assets."

AB 691 provides that addressing the impacts of sea level rise for all of its legislatively granted public trust lands shall be among the management priorities of a local trustee. The law requires a local trustee whose gross public trust revenues average over $250,000 annually between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2014, to prepare and submit to the commission, no later than July 1, 2019, except as provided, an assessment of how it proposes to address sea level rise.

The law permits, but does not require, a local trustee whose gross public trust revenues are $250,000 or less to prepare and submit to the commission an assessment. The law requires a local trustee to consider and use relevant information from specified reports on sea level rise in preparing the assessment and would permit a trustee that has already completed an assessment on the impacts of sea level rise to submit that assessment to the commission.




Publication Date: October 5, 2013

Related Organizations:

  • State of California


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  • Laws

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