Inventory of the Environmental Affairs Agency Records

Processed by Jessica Knox
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
Email: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov
URL: http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/
© 2008
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Environmental Affairs Agency Records

Collection number: R284

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Jessica Knox
Date Completed:
December 2008
Encoded by:
Jessica Knox
© 2008 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Environmental Affairs Agency Records
Dates: 1972-1994
Collection number: R284
Creator: Environmental Affairs Agency
Creator: Environmental Quality Agency
Creator: Environmental Protection Agency
Collection Size: 22.5 cubic feet of textual records
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: The Environmental Affairs Agency was formed through a series of executive actions in the 1970s, in order to maintain and enforce existing environmental laws in California. The records of the Environmental Affairs Agency contain 22.5 cubic feet of textual and photographic records spanning the time period 1972-1992. They document the agency's work to maintain and enforce state environmental laws, provide environmental policy advice to the Governor, and protect the quality of the environment for the health of California's citizens.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Administrative Information

Access

While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Environmental Affairs Agency Records, R284.[Series Number], [box and folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

Acquisition and Custodial History

The California State Archives acquired the Environmental Affairs Agency Records through a series of agency transfers according to state law.

Administrative History

The Environmental Affairs Agency was formed through a series of executive actions in the 1970s, in order to maintain and enforce existing environmental laws in California. The agency played an integral part in the development of California's environmental policies, some of which were the first of their kind nationwide. However, the agency was never formally established in statute, and its haphazard development reflected the fragmented nature of California's early environmental policies. Beginning in the 1950s, environmental programs were created by statute and focused on singular issues, like air pollution. These programs were scattered throughout a variety of different agencies, which presented a significant obstacle in implementing a comprehensive environmental plan for the state. In 1961, Governor Pat Brown reorganized the executive branch of California's government and placed all existing environmental quality programs, commissions and departments within the Resources Agency. Created to improve California's natural resources through careful use and conservation, the formation and organization of the Resources Agency marked the first attempt to consolidate the state's environmental programs.
The formation of cohesive federal and state environmental regulatory agencies was largely the consequence of a significant environmental disaster. The horrific 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast galvanized public opinion in favor of more stringent environmental protection laws. As a result, President Nixon created the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Most states, including California, worked to develop comparable programs. Governor Jerry Brown submitted the first proposal for an Environmental Quality Agency to the Little Hoover Commission as part of the Governor's Reorganization Plan of 1975. The program would have abolished the State Air Resources Board and the Solid Waste Management Board, and transferred the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards from the Resources Agency to the Environmental Quality Agency. The reorganization plan failed to win support in the Legislature, and was defeated. In response, Governor Brown created the cabinet-level post of Secretary of Environmental Affairs through Executive Order B2-75, and appointed Air Resources Board Chair A. Thomas Quinn to the position. The order stipulated that the Air Resources Board, the Water Resources Control Board, and the Solid Waste Management Board "communicate" with the Governor through the Secretary of Environmental Affairs. Legislation was later passed that reinforced the appointee's dual role as Chair of the Air Resources Board and Secretary of Environmental Affairs. Under the direction of the secretary, the Environmental Quality Agency proceeded to grow and function without statutory authority.
The Environmental Quality Agency became the Environmental Affairs Agency in 1983. Many attempts were made to establish the agency in statute during the administration of Governor George Deukmejian, but none were successful. As such, budgeting required borrowing funds from the boards coordinated by Environmental Affairs. Despite its lack of designated financial resources, the agency persisted in its goals to maintain and enforce the state's environmental laws, and to provide clean air and water to California's citizens. Functions were continually added to the office of the Secretary of Environmental Affairs. In addition to chairing the Air Resources Board, the secretary was appointed to serve as the Governor's Outer Continental Shelf Policy Advisor, charged with reviewing offshore oil and gas development proposals and providing policy advice. The secretary also oversaw the operations of the three environmental boards under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Affairs Agency: the Air Resources Board, the Water Resources Control Board, and the California Waste Management Board. Staff and facilities were made available to the secretary in order to carry out the responsibilities of the position.
Although it functioned as a state agency, the Environmental Affairs Agency was not as large or as well defined as other state agencies created by statutory authority. In 1991, Governor Pete Wilson proposed a reorganization plan that provided for the continuation of the programs formerly under the Environmental Affairs Agency, as well as additional programs, administered by the new Secretary for Environmental Protection. The secretary would no longer chair the Air Resources Board. The plan received mixed support; the agricultural industry, environmental groups and other special interest industries were divided over the proposed regulatory agency. Before the plan could be rejected, a freight train derailed near Redding and spilled thousands of gallons of toxic materials into the Sacramento River. The Environmental Affairs Agency successfully coordinated the response efforts, and demonstrated the necessity for an environmental regulatory agency. The Governor's Reorganization Plan went into effect in July 1991, and the Environmental Affairs Agency became the California Environmental Protection Agency.
The Secretaries for the Environmental Affairs Agency were as follows:

Environmental Quality Agency

A. Thomas Quinn, 1975-1979
Mary D. Nichols, 1979-1983

Environmental Affairs Agency

Gordon Duffy, 1983-1985
Jananne Sharpless, 1985-1991
*Chair, Air Resources Board, 1985-1993

Environmental Protection Agency

James M. Strock, 1991-1994

Scope and Content

The records of the Environmental Affairs Agency contain 22.5 cubic feet of textual and photographic records spanning the time period 1972-1992. The records document the agency's work to maintain and enforce state environmental laws, provide environmental policy advice to the Governor, and protect the quality of the environment for the health of California's citizens. The records are organized into fourteen series, which include Bill Files, Proposed Legislation Files, Federal Legislation Files, Subject Files, Air Quality Files, Gorda Ridge Files, California Coastal Commission Files, Coastal States Organization files, Department of the Interior Files, Outer Continental Shelf Files, Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale Files, Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Board Files, Lake Tahoe Files, and Budget Files.
The bulk of the records covers the period 1983-1991 and pertain to resource development activity on California's outer continental shelf. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, which opened up four billion acres of the seabed for possible development. The United States Department of the Interior thus began an aggressive leasing program to develop resources found submerged offshore of the United States. The Environmental Affairs Agency was responsible for developing and implementing policies related to oil, gas and mineral resources found offshore of California, and acted as a liaison between federal, state, and local agencies concerning these policies. The agency paid particularly close attention to issues like revenue sharing, drilling muds and cuttings, oil transportation, lease sales, and consistency with federal regulations, which comprise some of the topics included in the majority of the records series. As the Chair of the Air Resources Board, the Secretary of Environmental Affairs was also concerned with air pollution that stemmed from offshore activities. Oil tankers were a major source of hydrocarbon emissions, and several records series, particularly the Air Quality Files, relate to the regulation of exploratory drilling emissions.
The Environmental Affairs Agency was also concerned with water quality and water rights in California. For example, a significant topic within the Subject Files is the "Selby Slag" project. During the mid-1980s, researchers found that the waters of the Carquinez Strait suffered from significant contamination. The source was determined to be the Selby metal smelter, where toxins from a slag pile located on state lands leached into the bay. The discovery brought about an investigation involving various state agencies, including Environmental Affairs. Similarly, the Environmental Affairs Agency was involved in the administrative conflicts over water quality and water rights in Lake Tahoe. The Lake Tahoe Files contain information about the discord between state agencies, local government officials and the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency regarding water allocation and water quality standards for Lake Tahoe.

Related Collections at the California State Archives

Air Resources Board Records
California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission Records
California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Records
Department of Conservation Records
Gordon W. Duffy Papers
State Water Resources Control Board Records

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
California. Environmental Affairs Agency
Offshore oil industry
Air quality


Series Descriptions

R284.01, Box 1/1-Box 2/11

Series 1 Bill Files 1983-1986

Physical Description: 31 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by bill number within legislative session.

Scope and Content Note

Bill files contain analyses, correspondence, notes, reports, and background material regarding state legislation that would affect programs administered by the Environmental Affairs Agency, as well as issues under its jurisdiction. Legislative topics include water rights, dumping and storage of hazardous materials, emission standards, solid waste disposal facilities, pesticide use, and air and water pollution.
1983-1984: AB46-AB4047, ACR15, AJR10-AJR133 (12ff) Box 1/1-1/12
1983-1984: SB77-SB2332, SCR16-SCR60, SJR38 (9ff) Box 1/12-2/1
1985-1986: AB126-AB4325, ACR85, AJR42 (6ff) Box 2/2-2/7
1985-1986: SB59-SB2562, SCR5, SJR6 (4ff) Box 2/8-2/11
R284.02, Box 2/12-Box 2/13

Series 2 Proposed Legislation Files 1983-1986

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains analysis of specific bills and general legislative topics proposed by the boards administered by the Environmental Affairs Agency: the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Waste Management Board, and the Air Resources Board. Many of these proposed measures address the ability of each of the boards to conduct analysis, issue and revoke permits, and administer programs. Other subjects include water treatment plants, water rights, litter law enforcement, toxic air contaminants, and the monitoring of acid deposition. Also present within the files are legislative measures drafted upon request of the Governor, which focus primarily on the control and proper disposal of hazardous waste.
R284.03, Box 2/14-Box 2/15

Series 3 Federal Legislation Files 1983-1986

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

The Environmental Affairs Agency closely followed several federal legislative measures, due to their potential significant affect on California environmental law. These measures consist of HR6365 (1982), the "Panetta Moratorium Bill" which sought to halt development of California's outer continental shelf; HR3400 (1983), which aimed to reduce acid rain through pollution control; and HR1650 (1985), which amended the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Files include news releases, correspondence, press clippings, notes, publications, and legislative analysis.
R284.04, Box 2/16-Box 11/7

Series 4 Subject Files 1976-1991

Physical Description: 232 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

Subject files span a wide variety of topics of interest to the Environmental Affairs Agency, and typically consist of correspondence, background material, notes, and reports. Some subjects include artificial reefs, oil drilling fluids and cuttings, marine sanctuaries, oil refineries, nuclear power plants, hard mineral mining, and sea otter recovery and translocation. Also notable are files kept on specific oil companies, and their offshore activities. The file for Exxon Company, U.S.A., for example, includes correspondence and litigation relating to the Exxon-Valdez oil spill of 1989.
For an alphabetical list of subject headings, see Appendix A in Master Finding Aid at the California State Archives.
R284.05, Box 11/8-Box 11/22

Series 5 Air Quality Files 1977-1987

Physical Description: 15 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

The Environmental Affairs Agency worked continuously towards achieving consistency between California state law and federal environmental laws, specifically the Clean Air Act, and implementing policies to improve California's air quality. Materials found in the Air Quality files were used by the agency as they addressed issues related to emission levels, air pollution and the monitoring of air quality. The files consist of correspondence, rules and regulations, background material, notes, reports, scientific studies and influential litigation. Specific topics include exploratory drilling emissions, aerometric monitoring programs, California v. Watt, environmental impact reports, air pollution in Santa Barbara County, and the Tri-Agency Air Quality Task Force.
R284.06, Box 11/23-Box 12/14

Series 6 Gorda Ridge Files 1982-1986

Physical Description: 20 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

This series relates to the United States Department of the Interior's proposed lease sale of the sea floor off the California and Oregon coasts, called the Gorda Ridge, for deep-sea strip mining of zinc, copper, iron, lead, and silver in 1984. The decision to lease the Gorda Ridge initiated much controversy in California, especially among those in the fishing and mining industries. The Gorda Ridge files include background material, correspondence, public hearing transcripts, environmental impact statements, and press releases. Particularly significant are the files of the Gorda Ridge Technical Task Force, a fifteen member advisory body charged with making recommendations to the Department of the Interior regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement issued for the lease sale of Gorda Ridge.
R284.07, Box 12/15-Box 13/13

Series 7 California Coastal Commission Files 1978-1989

Physical Description: 20 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

As the Governor's Outer Continental Shelf Policy Coordinator, the Secretary of Environmental Affairs was consistently involved with the California Coastal Commission and its work to plan and regulate the use of land and water in the coastal zone. The California Coastal Commission Files consist of background material, correspondence, notes, meeting minutes, reports, and regulatory proposals that reflect the working relationship between the two organizations. Topics include the Ocean Studies Program, proposed regulations and local Coastal Zone Management programs.
R284.08, Box 13/14-Box 14/5

Series 8 Coastal States Organization Files 1981-1989

Physical Description: 11 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of files related to the Coastal States Organization, a forum for Governors of all coastal states participating in the resolution of nationally significant coastal conflicts. The Coastal States Organization led the legislative effort to enact the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, which encouraged coastal states to design and implement coastal zone management plans. The Coastal States Organization files include meeting minutes, publications, correspondence, memoranda, and other material of interest to the Environmental Affairs Agency relating to California's coastal zone management plan. Some topics that may be significant to researchers include the Exclusive Economic Zone and the regulation of dredge disposal by the Army Corps of Engineers.
R284.09, Box 14/6-Box 15/18

Series 9 Department of the Interior Files 1978-1994

Physical Description: 35 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged into two subseries: (1) General Files and (2) Environmental Studies Plans.
R284.09

Subseries 1 General Files 1978-1991

Physical Description: 22 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content

General Files consists of correspondence, news releases, proposed rules and regulations, and other material documenting the exchanges between the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Affairs Agency. Of particular importance is the Five Year Environmental Studies Program, which outlines Department of the Interior plans for outer continental shelf development. Other topics include proprietary information agreements, the Georges Bank Biological Task Force, and Quarterly Program Status Reports.
R284.09

Subseries 2 Environmental Studies Plans 1981-1994

Physical Description: 13 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by fiscal year.

Scope and Content

Environmental Studies Plans functioned as a means to implement environmental studies prior to any outer continental shelf development activities in the Pacific Region. Each environmental studies plan was distributed by the Environmental Affairs Agency on behalf of the Department of the Interior, to provide state and local agencies and organizations with an opportunity to review the plans and make recommendations.
R284.10, Box 15/19-Box 17/20

Series 10 Outer Continental Shelf Files 1977-1991

Physical Description: 51 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

The Environmental Affairs Agency supervised and coordinated outer continental shelf policies for the State of California, working closely with local governments and the federal government. The Outer Continental Shelf files reflect the agency's specific interests and concerns regarding California's outer continental shelf, and cover topics such as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1978, management of royalties, labor in the offshore oil industry, and the potential environmental impacts of outer continental shelf development. They consist of meeting minutes, publications, correspondence, press clippings, and litigation. The files also include photographs and photographic slides documenting California's aesthetic coastal resources in places like Humboldt and Orange counties, which were impacted by various development projects.
R284.11, Box 17/21-Box 19/8

Series 11 Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale Files 1974-1991

Physical Description: 46 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged into two subseries: (1) OCS Leasing Subject Files and (2) OCS Lease Sale Files.
R284.11

Subseries 1 OCS Leasing Subject Files 1974-1991

Physical Description: 13 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content

Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Subject Files contain meeting minutes, litigation, correspondence, reports, public hearing transcripts, Draft Environmental Impact Reports, and other material pertaining to the outer continental shelf leasing policies of the state and federal government. Subjects include leasing permit assistance, lease bidding systems, leasing moratoriums, and exploration of possible lease areas in the outer continental shelf. Potentially of interest to researchers are materials relating to the "Big Five Support Staff," a working group composed of representatives from the State Lands Commission, the California Coastal Commission, and the counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. The "Big Five" held periodic meetings from 1985-1987 to discuss offshore oil development projects and issues, including leases and pending litigation.
R284.11

Subseries 2 Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale Files 1980-1989

Physical Description: 15 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content

Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale Files include correspondence, reports, and other material concerning individual lease sales offshore of California. The most controversial of these was arguably Lease Sale E-83-5, or the Point Conception Lease Sale, which the State Lands Commission sought to open to competitive bids from oil companies. The 40,000 acres of land in question were located in the waters offshore of Santa Barbara County, extending from Point Conception to Point Arguello. The proposed lease sale marked the first instance that new lands were opened to leasing since the 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara.
R284.12, Box 19/9-Box 21/13

Series 12 Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Board Files 1977-1991

Physical Description: 47 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged into four subseries: (1) Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Board General Files, (2) Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee Files, (3) Pacific Regional Technical Working Group Files, and (4) Scientific Committee Files.

Scope and Content

The Environmental Affairs Agency collected materials relating to the Outer Continental Advisory Board, an organization comprised of three committees, which functioned to provide advice to the federal Department of the Interior. Gordon W. Duffy, the Secretary of Environmental Affairs, was appointed to the policy committee in 1983.
R284.11

Subseries 1 Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Board General Files 1981-1994

Physical Description: 6 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content

Outer Continental Shelf Advisory Board General Files contain general information of importance to the Advisory Board. This subseries consists of Background Materials, which include correspondence, board resolutions, reports, and meeting minutes; and Events and Opportunities for Action, which contain "OCS Event Bulletins" that provide information on litigation, leasing programs, and state and federal government responses to issues pertaining to outer continental shelf development.
R284.11

Subseries 2 Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee Files 1980-1991

Physical Description: 36 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content

Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee Files is composed of meeting minutes, litigation, correspondence, committee resolutions, and information about committee membership and attendance. The materials cover the time period of 1980-1991. The files reveal how the committee functioned in its capacity as an advisory body to the Department of the Interior, and include information related to monitoring lease sales, coordinating leasing incentives and strategies, and developing policies to regulate development of the outer continental shelf. Also within the files are records from the Subcommittee on the Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program. The subcommittee functioned as regional subcommittee of the Policy Committee. The file on the subcommittee includes committee reports, member information, meeting agendas, and correspondence.
R284.11

Subseries 3 Pacific Regional Technical Working Group Files 1979-1991

Physical Description: 4 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content

Pacific Regional Technical Working Group Files include meeting minutes, meeting agendas, correspondence, press clippings, and information about committee membership and attendance. These materials range in date from 1979-1991. Delegated to advise the Secretary of the Department of the Interior on matters of regional concern regarding lease sale activities and transportation related studies and management plans, the Pacific Regional Technical Working Group explored topics like crude oil pipelines, transportation within offshore lease sale areas, and studies and measures to mitigate the impacts of outer continental shelf development in the pacific region.
R284.11

Subseries 4 Scientific Committee File 1979-1981

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content

The Scientific Committee File is comprised of one file folder of material covering the period 1979-1981. These materials include meeting minutes, meeting agendas, and notes on meeting participation. The Scientific Committee provided advice to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior regarding the appropriateness and scientific value of the outer continental shelf studies program conducted offshore by the Bureau of Land Management. The committee adopted resolutions that affected the scope of the environmental studies undertaken by the Bureau of Land Management, appealed for increased funding for environmental studies, and issued scientific reports to the Policy Committee to aid in policy development.
R284.13, Box 21/14-Box 22/7

Series 13 Lake Tahoe Files 1971-1985

Physical Description: 18 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content

Lake Tahoe files consist of background material, correspondence, notes, meeting minutes, reports and litigation. These materials concern subjects like water quality, water quantity, erosion control, transportation, and air quality in the Lake Tahoe area. Files contain information about the conflict between state agencies and the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and the California-Nevada Interstate Compact, an agreement that allocated water from Lake Tahoe to both California and Nevada. Also of interest are the files kept on Brockway Springs, a controversial development project proposed for Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe that was opposed by the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
R284.14, Box 22/7-Box 23/5

Series 14 Budget Files 1975-1985

Physical Description: 20 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by fiscal year.

Scope and Content

Budget files are composed of correspondence, reports, and budget change proposals for the boards administered by the Environmental Affairs Agency, including the Air Resources Board, the Solid Waste Management Board, and the State Water Resources Control Board. Budget change proposals consist of program maintenance and reorganization, adding or expanding new program functions, and implementing legislation. The boards often requested increased funding for special programs, like the Resource Recovery and Recycling Program, the Air Pollution Control Program, and the Leviathon Mine Pollution Abatement Project.
Note to the researcher: The budget file for the 1983-1984 fiscal year is missing from the series.