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November 9, 2005
For More Information, Contact:
Paige Schoknecht at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO - Senate President pro Tem Don Perata announced today that he has appointed State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) as Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, with jurisdiction over environmental quality, air quality, integrated waste management, toxics, water quality, and hazardous waste.
“I’m gratified by the appointment,” Simitian said.  “It allows me to build on my previous environmental work in the Legislature, and do good work for the folks I represent.” 
“Senator Simitian has a long history of solid work on environmental issues—work that has resulted in real change that now protects our air, forests and coastlines,” said Perata.  “He was a natural choice for the position.”
“Real environmental protections require thoughtful and long-term vision.  We have worked with Senator Simitian closely over the years on many tough issues.  He’s in a good position to continue working on behalf of the environment,” said Gary Bailey, Executive Committee Member of the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.
In addition to chairing the Environmental Quality committee, Simitian will continue to serve as a member of two other standing committees that affect environmental policy: Energy, Utilities and Communications; and Transportation and Housing.  He will also continue to chair the Senate’s Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Watershed Conservation.
“Joe Simitian has made environmental protection a cornerstone of his service,” said Susan Smartt, executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters. Said Smartt, “The public has an environmental champion chairing Senate Environmental Quality.  The health of our communities and the beauty of our state will certainly benefit from Senator Simitian’s new role.” 
Earlier this year Simitian introduced a wide ranging package of environmental bills addressing air pollution, coastal protection, energy, hazardous materials and solid waste. 
Last month, the governor signed Simitian’s SB 771, a measure to protect California’s coast and ocean by prohibiting the rapidly growing commercial shipping industry from dumping harmful substances into California’s water and air. 
SB 771 builds on Simitian’s other coastal protection measures, AB 471 and 2672, which were signed into law last year, and AB 121, which was signed in 2003.  AB 471, 2672, and 121 prohibit cruise ships from incinerating garbage and dumping environmental toxins, including sewage and oily waste water, within three miles of the California coastline. 
The Senate Environmental Quality Committee was previously chaired by Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and by former Eleventh District State Senator Byron Sher from 1999 to 2004.
Simitian added, “I’m fortunate to represent a district that understands that our quality of life includes not only good schools and safe neighborhoods, but clean air, water and open space.”