SACRAMENTO -- In a blow to protecting tropical forests, California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act Wednesday. CA AB 416, which was introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra and supported by many environmental organizations, passed through California’s House and Senate in early September. The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act would have required state contractors to follow policies when sourcing forest-risk commodities. The production of these commodities, such as palm oil, soy, and beef, causes the majority of all tropical deforestation. Destroying climate-critical tropical forests also threatens biodiversity and harms the health of local communities.
Specifically, the bill would have required businesses that enter into contracts with the state of California to ensure that their forest-risk commodities not be produced in a manner that disturbs carbon-rich peat, harms threatened species, exploits humans or causes deforestation. The bill would have also required data on these activities to be made publicly available. Newsom claimed that this bill would have presented a disproportionate challenge to small businesses.
In response, Environment California State Director Laura Deehan issued the following statement:
“California has the fifth largest economy in the world, and leveraging its market power to reduce deforestation would deliver a positive ripple effect across the globe. Tragically, because Gov. Newsom vetoed the The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, we are one step closer to species extinctions and a worsening climate crisis. This is a blow to global biodiversity, the planet’s climate and communities that are impacted by deforestation.”