California Governor Vetoes Tropical Deforestation Bill — Cites Added Burden on Small Businesses Trying to Participate in State Contracts

On Wednesday (10-6-21), California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required businesses selling certain products to the state to prove they’re not contributing to tropical deforestation. Environmental advocates had hoped Newsom would make California the first state to limit contracts to businesses that can prove their supply chains don’t engage in the destruction of tropical forests, which is a major contributor to global climate change.

In his veto message to the state legislature, Newsom said he rejected the legislation because it would harm small businesses. “Deforestation is a major contributor to the climate crisis that California and the world is facing right now,” Newsom wrote. “Unfortunately, this bill’s extensive requirements would create a significant burden on California businesses — particularly small businesses — that are looking to participate in state contracts.”

Newsom said under the bill, every time the state bought something that contained soy, the vendor would have been required to disclose where the soybeans were grown, who the farmer was, and where they were processed. “Most small business suppliers do not have access to that information,” Newsom said.

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California governor vetoes tropical deforestation bill