updated 10/7/2004 11:33:30 AM ET 2004-10-07T15:33:30

With few exceptions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stuck to his commitment as an environmentalist during bill signings last September, approving more than 20 legislative proposals to protect oceans, improve air quality and bring millions more dollars to the Sierra Nevada.

Backers said many bills represented the first of their kind nationally, such as banning cruise ships from burning trash or dumping sewage inside California's three-mile limit and establishing a Cabinet-level Ocean Protection Council inside state government.

But the governor also disappointed some environmental groups, rejecting bills to recycle crumb rubber into highway construction projects and expand the mission of state forests beyond timber harvesting.

Key environment bills signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, almost all of them first sponsored by Democrats:

AIR POLLUTION:

Big rig operators will be required to provide evidence that the engine meets federal air quality standards.

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS:

The public will have access to more information about major land sales for conservation easements.

CRUISE SHIPS:

  • Cruise ships will be barred from burning trash within three miles of California's coastline.
  • Cruise ships will be barred from discharging sewage within three miles of shore.
  • Cruise ships will be banned from releasing sewage into ocean waters off California shores. The ban will also have to be approved by federal authorities before it can take effect.

DELTA:

The state Department of Water Resources, working with the U.S. Department of Interior, will have to draft a plan to meet water quality standards in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta before any more water could be exported from the delta.

ENVIRONMENTAL LICENSE PLATES:

The yearly renewal fee for personalized license plates will increase from $25 to $30 and that money will be used for ocean protection, including controlling pollutants and protecting wildlife and water quality.

FORESTS:

Cutting and removing of trees to reduce the threat of wildfire will be exempt from timber harvesting plan requirements if various requirements are met.

HYBRID CARS:

Hybrid vehicles can use freeway diamond lanes, regardless of the number of occupants.

LAND PURCHASES:

The 13-member Sierra Nevada Conservancy will be formed to acquire and manage lands for various public purposes.

OIL SPILLS:

A person responsible for the discharge, or threatened discharge, of oil in marine waters will be required to immediately report the discharge to state officials.

OLD CARS AND SMOG CHECKS:

All cars built after 1976 will have to pass a smog check and the "30-year rolling exemption" that applies to the Smog Check and Smog Check II programs is repealed.

PACIFIC OCEAN:

  • The state will create a Cabinet-level Ocean Protection Council to coordinate state policy for protecting the Pacific Ocean.
  • Fishing boats will have to give up bottom trawling in designated areas off the California coast.

PESTICIDES:

Those who spray pesticides will be liable for the medical care for those harmed when the pesticides drift from agricultural areas to a "nonoccupational setting."

PLASTIC BAGS:

Plastic bags will have to meet standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials to carry the label compostable, degradable or biodegradable.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY:

The San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission will gain more authority.

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Key environment bills vetoed by Schwarzenegger, all of them first sponsored by Democrats:

AIR POLLUTION:

Regional air quality officials would have established a baseline measurement of Southern California smog in 2005 and prohibited growth at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles if it pushed smog beyond that level.

DELTA:

The state Coastal Conservancy would have been able to administer a Sacramento-San Joaquin Conservancy program to restore, enhance and protect agricultural, economic, natural, cultural, recreational, public access and urban waterfront resources.

FORESTS:

The focus of forest management would have shifted from maximum sustainable timber production to maintenance, restoration, education, recreation, public enjoyment and study as well as timber production if certain conditions were met.

ENERGY CONSERVATION:

  • Tougher energy efficiency standards would have been required for new state buildings.
  • The state would have been required to develop a plan to make its buildings models of the efficient use of energy, water and building materials.

ENVIRONMENT:

  • Cities and counties would have been required to set up voluntary programs to certify businesses that operate in environmentally friendly ways.
  • Cities and the state would have been required to launch 30 pilot projects during the next six years to test new processes of cleaning up blighted industrial areas for urban development.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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