Senator Feinstein has a long history as a champion for California’s environment.
- Protecting California’s Deserts: Senator Feinstein authored and passed the California Desert Protection and Recreation Act as part of the 2019 Public Lands package. This bill builds upon the legacy of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act, Senator Feinstein’s landmark legislation that established Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve and protected more than 7.6 million acres of California desert wilderness. In 2016, Senator Feinstein asked President Obama to expand protections for the desert by creating the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments. Those new public lands will also benefit from the 2019 legislation. The combined acreage of the 1994 legislation, the national monument designations and new legislation represents the largest effort to protect public lands in the lower 48 states.
- Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. In 2016, Senator Feinstein helped secure passage of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, a bill that authorized $415 million for aquatic invasive species control, storm water management, environmental restoration projects and fire risk reduction.
- Promoting Desalination: In the 115th Congress, Senator Feinstein provided the first-ever federal funding assistance for local desalination projects, and increased the Bureau of Reclamation’s funding for desalination research by 35% to help improve the cost-efficiency and environmental sustainability of desalination technology.
- Fighting the California Drought: In 2016, Senator Feinstein secured passage of bipartisan legislation to respond to California’s five-year drought and modernize the state’s water system. In addition to short-term operational provisions, the bill also authorized $558 million in funds to assist the state in building a new water infrastructure including desalination, recycling and storage projects. Senator Feinstein has ensured full appropriation of this $558 million to help California weather future droughts. Senator Feinstein obtained $515 million in new funding for storage, water recycling, desalination and other water supply infrastructure and $87 million in new funding to help restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This new funding was authorized under provisions Senator Feinstein and Representative McCarthy authored in 2016 legislation
- Supporting California Flood Control Projects: In 2018, Senator Feinstein secured $2.5 billion dollars for construction of seven of the highest priority flood control projects and two flood control studies. The construction projects are expected to be completed in three to five years. As ranking member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Feinstein secured $4.5 billion for flood control projects in a recent bill to fund disaster relief and preparedness, with more than half of funds awarded to California projects. Projects include long-time priority South San Francisco Shoreline, Sacramento flood control, and funding a study for the Los Angeles County Flood Control System.
- Dealing with cross border sewage spills: In the 115th Congress, Senator Feinstein secured $35 million dollars to help clean up the pollution in the Tijuana River Valley through programs to update and build new wastewater treatment facilities and other needed infrastructure.
- Headwaters Forest Agreement. In 1999 Senator Feinstein helped secure $250 million in federal funds (a match for state funding) to purchase the 7,500-acre Headwaters Forest, the largest privately held stand of uncut old-growth redwoods. The agreement also helped preserve 12 additional groves of ancient redwood trees.
- National Parks and Recreation. In 2005, a Feinstein bill added 4,500 acres of pristine natural land to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and 25,500 acres to the Redwood National Park in Del Norte County.
- Northern California Wilderness. In 2006, Feinstein legislation permanently protected almost 300,000 acres and preserves over 21 miles of the Black Butte River in Northern California.
- San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds Restoration. In 2003, Senator Feinstein led efforts to negotiate the purchase of 16,500 acres of salt ponds from Cargill along the San Francisco Bay and Napa River—the largest such wetlands restoration project in California history—through an unprecedented public-private partnership.
- Otay Mountain Wilderness Act. In 1999, Senator Feinstein helped pass a bill to preserve 18,500 acres of the Otay Mountain region. The mountain area, located in eastern San Diego County, is home to 20 sensitive plant and animal species.
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 2000, Senator Feinstein authored a bill to add nearly 1,300 acres of undeveloped land in Pacifica, Marin County and San Francisco to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.