California Bowen Bill Analysis
Floor Assembly

                                                     BILL ANALYSIS

                                                          AB 2439 

AB 2439 (Bowen)
As Amended May 5, 1998
Majority vote


Ayes: Wayne, Bowen, Ducheny, Keeley, Knox

Nays: Prenter, Cunneen, Richter

 SUMMARY  :  Excludes, beginning June 1, 2004, the use of watercraft
propelled by certain two-stroke engines with more than 10
horsepower from recreational uses in lakes or reservoirs serving
as sources of drinking water.  Specifically,  this bill  :

1)  Excludes, beginning June 1, 2004, the use of watercraft
propelled by a two-stroke engine that discharges unburned fuel or
oil as a function of its design, with a power rating greater than
10 horsepower, from recreational uses on a lake or reservoir that
serves as a domestic water supply or that is directly connected to
a drinking water supply distribution and treatment system.

2) Exempts from this exclusion two-stroke engines with a power
   rating of 10 or fewer horsepower or those for use in certain
   emergency response activities, such as search, rescue and

 EXISTING LAW  allows water agencies to construct and operate
recreational facilities appurtenant to any lands, dams, reservoirs,
facilities or works owned or operated by the agency.  At an agency's
discretion, recreational uses at these facilities can include the use
of watercraft propelled by two-stroke engines.

 FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown


1) According to the author, emissions from two-stroke marine engines
   rank among California's largest sources of toxic water pollution.
   The high emissions are due to the inefficiency of the two-stroke
   engine, which requires fuel and oil to be mixed prior to use,
   causing incomplete combustion.  A United States Environmental
   Protection Agency (USEPA) study shows that approximately 25% of the
   fuel/oil mixture from two-stroke engines is emitted, unburned, in
   the exhaust.

2) USEPA certification data demonstrate that two-stroke engines produce
   over eight times the hydrocarbon emissions produced by four-strokes,
   on average.  Discharges to water by these motors include known
   carcinogens such as benzene and toluene.  While approximately 10-15%
   more expensive, four-stroke engines on the market today are more
   efficient, contain internal oil systems not requiring pre-mixing
   with (and thus discharge with) gasoline, and produce fewer air and
   water emissions.

3) This bill does not constitute an outright ban on the use of
   two-stroke motors.  The author states that it is specifically
   designed to protect domestic water supplies from the pollutants
   discharged from the engines.  With recent
revelations about the harmful and migratory nature of fuel additives
such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and their effects on water
supplies, the author believes that protective measures must be taken

   However, the author states that this bill is designed to address the
   pollution cause by two-stroke engines, generally, and not the
   effects of MTBE, specifically.  Opponents charge that a ban on MTBE
   is a direct solution to the immediate problems posed by it.
   However, the author states that a ban on MTBE alone does not address
   the emissions problems caused by two-strokes, including the
   discharge of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm
   that are inherent in the formulation of motor fuels.  As 75% of
   California's reservoirs allow motorized boating, harmful emissions
   will continue to be released into the water supplies.

   Opponents suggest that, as drafted, this bill serves as a complete
   ban of two-strokes over 10 horsepower in all freshwater areas.
   Since virtually all sources of freshwater lead to a drinking source,
   this bill would have a profoundly limiting impact on motorized uses
   of those areas.  The author states that the language is narrowly
   defined, specifically only addressing enclosed bodies of water such
   as lakes and reservoirs that either serve as drinking water
   supplies, or are directly connected to drinking water supply
   systems.  This is not intended to cover the entire universe of
   freshwater areas and would necessarily exclude rivers and the delta
   region, as well as non-drinking water lakes and reservoirs.

4) A ban on the use of powerboats on enclosed bodies of water serving
   as drinking water supplies is not unique.  For many years, several
   water districts throughout the state have passed ordinances either
   prohibiting or heavily restricting the use of boats powered by
   internal combustion engines.  The districts state that due to their
   relative size, lack of ability to dilute, and costs involved with
   treating the water to meet federal and state drinking water
   standards, certain reservoirs and lakes are closed to all but
   non-powered or electric-powered boats.

5) The issue has been raised that the provisions of this bill could
   affect two areas subject to federal regulation that pre-empt the
   state's ability to regulate.  First, this bill will apply to
   federally-controlled bodies of water that serve as a domestic water
   supply (i.e., including Lake Shasta, Lake Berryessa and Folsom Lake,
   which are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation as reservoirs for
   the Central Valley Project).  Opponents state that to the extent
   that use limitations would apply to these facilities, with
   accompanying revenue losses, federal pre-emption issues may arise
   with respect to attempts by state law to regulate interstate

   Second, this bill will apply to non-federal facilities improved by
   federal funds.  Opponents cite a recent Federal Appellate Court case
   that held that a ban on the use of personal water craft in the
   Sacramento River by a City of Redding ordinance violated federal law
   [  Buckley v. City of Redding  , 66 F.3d 188, Ninth Circuit (1995)].
   The court held, in part, that to the extent that federal funds were
   used to build and maintain a boat launch facility, an outright
   prohibition on access to the river via that facility violates
   federal law.  However, the court did state that it was within the
   city's power to place horsepower limitations on boats using these
   facilities, so long as it does not discriminate among those power
   boats with common horsepower ratings.

 Analysis prepared by  :  Scott H. Valor / aestm / (916) 319-3965


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