Sacramento County Supervisors Walk Away from a Strong Climate Action Plan (CAP)

The Sacramento County Supervisors still haven’t  come forward with a serious Climate Action Plan (CAP).

The short version

Oscar presents a CAP proposal

350 Sacramento has worked with Sacramento County for several years to get the County to its fulfill its 2011 promise to “adopt a Climate Action Plan within one year”. For the last twelve months we’ve commented extensively on the County’s four draft CAPs, pointing out each CAP’s practical and legal deficiencies. Finally, Sacramento County released its Revised Final Draft CAP in February.

On March 23, the Supervisors held a workshop to consider the most recent CAP, receive public comment, and provide direction to staff on a final CAP for adoption. Supervisors could have strengthened the CAP, instead they weakened it in response to concerns of land developers, realtors, and industry. 

How we prepared

350 Sacramento volunteers made a difference in many ways. Over the months, they:

  • Posted Fact Sheets that summarize four key CAP issues:
    • What a CAP is
    • The County’s history of not delivering on promises
    • How sprawl contributes to the climate crisis
    • A blog on the upcoming workshop
  • Mobilized our members through the newsletter (thanks to Alex), emails (thanks to Kate), and blog posts (thanks to Cat and Joe).
  • Posted an online petition to Supervisors (thanks to Justin)
  • Provided talking points for individual emails to Supervisors (thanks to Steve W)
  • Presented training for oral comments (thanks to Kate, Megan E, and Steve W)
  • Issued several press releases and spoke personally with several reporters (thanks to Laurie H and Tess T)
  • Submitted formal comments
  • Worked with allies to send a legal letter to the County from the attorneys who successfully challenged San Diego County’s similarly deficient CAP

How we showed up

At the March 23 workshop, 350 Sacramento and other organizations called for a stronger CAP that emphasizes infill over climate-busting sprawl. (For details, see 350 Sacramento’s slides for Our Plea for a Stronger CAP.) Our members Kent L, Steve W., Meghan S., and Megan E. made their individual comments in-person. Many commenters who called in noted their 350 affiliations.

How Supervisors let us down—The key takeaways

This spreadsheet details key comments by Supervisors and others, and notes Supervisors’ directions to staff. Meeting time-points are shown for some (including for speakers from environmental organizations).

Supervisors’ directions to the staff is the key factor that shapes the final CAP. Unfortunately, Supervisors narrowed or eliminated requirements for:

  • Panel upgrades for existing residential units (GHG-06, Quantified)
  • Mandates for Tier 4 Engines, Construction Equipment (GHG-08, Quantified)
  • Applicability of Carbon-Neutral New Growth Areas (GHG-30, Non-Quantified)

Only Supervisor Kennedy suggested some strengthening by including a few Appendix F items—streamlined electrical permitting, Civic Lab, and EV charging at SMF.

Supervisors repeatedly alluded to the housing crisis, and implied that more sprawl is the only solution. All Supervisors seemed committed to allowing sprawl beyond the County’s own adopted growth boundary. The County ignored that they have already approved more sprawl than needed for projected growth. Nevertheless, Supervisors Notolli and Desmond seemed genuinely supportive of infill.

The staff will now revise the CAP and return it to the Board of Supervisors about mid-year for adoption.

What’s next?

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition, wrote emails, and testified at the Workshop!!!  The time is now for the CAP Team and coalition partners. In the next few months, we’ll consider strategy options in internal CAP Team discussions and with coalition partners.

Join us!

We’ll discuss this and more at the CAP Team’s next meeting, Wed, April 13, 6:30pm. Join us on Zoom at:

We look forward to seeing you.


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