California lawmakers call for $1 billion ‘down payment’ on offshore wind energy infrastructure

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If there’s one thing Assemblyman Rick Chavez Zbur, D-West Hollywood, wanted the public to take away from his Tuesday press conference, it’s that the state is not on track to meet its climate goals and that major steps are needed to correct that.

For example?

“Offshore wind is a crucial part of the strategy to achieve our goals,” Zbur said at the presser.

Zbur and a number of other lawmakers were on hand to advocate on behalf of including a $1 billion bond for seaport infrastructure improvement as part of a larger climate bond being considered in the Legislature and which voters may decide on this November.

California’s seaports are simply not equipped right now to assemble these giant wind turbines, which are so large their arms could barely fit in Dodger Stadium, Zbur said.

“We need to make significant investments in our seaports to allow for these massive offshore wind turbines to be assembled, constructed and transported,” he said.

Zbur said that $1 billion is just a down payment on this infrastructure project, “albeit an important one.”

“And that’s why we’re here today, to make offshore wind a priority. We must prioritize climate, climate bonds and offshore wind when we’re allocating this year’s budget,” he said.


The California Department of Finance has sent a formal budget letter to state agencies, directing them to “immediately cease” state spending of one-time appropriations.

This is the second such letter to be sent out this budget cycle — the first one was sent in December, when it first became clear that the state was looking at a massive deficit.

Last month, lawmakers approved early action aimed at reducing the deficit by as much as $17 billion. This week’s letter is in direct response to that, wrote Jason Sisney, a budget adviser to Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, in a blog post.

“The freeze is intended to enlarge the pool of potential options that the Governor and the Legislature have to balance the 2024 state budget in June,” Sisney wrote.

The freeze applies only to unallocated (meaning unspent) one-time appropriation funds greater than $1 million (not including state administrative overhead costs).

“As noted above, departments with appropriations meeting the above criteria shall immediately cease spending or encumbering these resources. Additionally, affected departments shall contact Finance to assess remaining funds and impacts of this (budget letter), including impacts to other departments and programs,” the budget letter reads in part.

The letter “strongly encourages” statewide elected officials to comply with its provisions.


“People from across the nation and the globe are coming to the Golden State to pursue the California Dream and experience the success of the world’s 5th largest economy. From the Inland Empire to the Bay Area, regions throughout California are growing – strengthening local communities and boosting our state’s future.”

- California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in statement responding to news that California’s population grew slightly last year.

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