SYRCL welcomes our new Policy Director, Gianna Setoudeh
Gianna resides in Fair Oaks and spends much of her free time at the river, lake or beach capturing California’s immense beauty with her camera or paintbrush. She grew up taking summer trips to the mountains and the beach with her family, where she cultivated her love for nature and the outdoors.
A California native, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from California State University Sacramento and has strong experience in the government relations space, with expertise in the functions of the California State Legislature, Administration and state agencies. Prior to joining SYRCL, she worked for a nationally recognized law firm with a robust natural resource and environmental practice where she served as a legislative advocate on a multitude of issues and gained a strong interest in water policy. At SYRCL, she will lead the organization’s advocacy efforts by engaging in federal, state and local issues and policies to ensure SYRCL member’s voices are heard.
Gianna loves nature photography, hiking, picnics with her cat, and creating art inspired by nature.
What is one issue/program you are focusing on right now?
“One of the projects I’m currently focusing on is Growing Green for the Yuba. When I first started with SYRCL in September, Nevada County had just released proposed revisions to its Cannabis Cultivation ordinance. Proposed changes to this ordinance are important to track and stay engaged in because regulatory changes can have significant impacts on cultivation practices and markets as a whole and on the environment. SYRCL encourages sustainable and ecologically sound cannabis cultivation in the Yuba River watershed and we see regulation as an important tool to protect water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife.”
“Another project for Growing Green for the Yuba, is the development educational community workshops that we plan to roll out in the near future. A relatively new industry in the grand scheme of things, there are certainly many challenges and opportunities that come with cannabis cultivation in Nevada County, including fluctuations in the market, enforcement, and pathways to legalization. One of our goals is to share information, increase awareness, and to be a resource for individuals who are uncertain about the future of cannabis cultivation in the community.”
Are there any upcoming issues/legislation you think people should keep an eye on?
“At the federal and state level, there is an ongoing pursuit to address the persistent threat to our waterways and public health that exists from the wide array of emerging contaminants known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These substances are incredibly dangerous due to their incredibly stable nature and ability to accumulate overtime in the environment – they are often referred to as “forever chemicals.” They exist invisibly in the air we breathe, in the water we drink and swim in, in our soil, in the food we eat, and in the products we put on our bodies.”
“The state recently enacted several laws which will begin the phase out of PFAS in apparel, textiles, cosmetic products, food packaging and cookware in California. A new law was also enacted to authorize the state to establish a dedicated program aimed at addressing “Constituents of Emerging Concern,” which are characterized as pollutants that have been detected in water bodies, that may cause ecological or human health impacts but are not typically regulated under current environmental laws. However, presently, PFAS are still largely unregulated at the state and federal level.”
“As environmental and human exposure to these toxic forever chemicals grows, the urgency to set industry standards for the discharge of PFAS into the environment only increases. Congress has the power to pass legislation – currently on the table is the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, which would provide the protections and oversight needed to address this environmental and public health crisis at a nationwide scale. California can also take the lead and pass comprehensive legislation to establish a regulatory framework at the state level. While it will take immense collaboration, leadership and commitment to address arguably one of the most unsettling environmental and health concerns of the present moment, the cost of doing nothing is far greater.”