8 New California Environmental Laws You Need to Know

In 2016, several laws that concern the environment have come into effect in California. Do you know which ones may impact you?

Air Quality

  • The state Air Resources Board will gain two members—by legislative appointment—who will represent communities suffering from air pollution.


  • Cities and counties are no longer able to ban residents from removing turf or installing drought tolerant landscaping in an effort to comply with water conservation regulations.
  • State agencies must update irrigation systems on their properties and install native plants


  • $100 million in incentives will be provided annually for the installation of solar panels at low-income apartments.
  • Utilities are required to work toward meeting the 2030 target of generating 50% of the state’s energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Hazardous Waste

  • The Department of Toxic Substances control will be given more authority to recover cleanup costs from polluting factories, and will be able to require hazardous-waste managers to provide verification that they will be able to pay for a clean up, if necessary.


  • Municipal water agencies must evaluate their pipes and holding systems to determine their level of vulnerability to earthquake damage.