Land Use

Just Who Are The People Trying to Buy Our State Buildings?

By Brian Leubitz

Arnold Schwarzenegger was quite keen to get the sale of buildings through before he left office.  That's no surprise, considering that Jerry Brown was never really a fan of the deal.  His latest statements have been somewhat ambivalent, essentially saying that he wants 30 days to review the deal before he does anything.

But the deal is now rapidly losing investors, and the Bay Citizen (a website you should be reading), notes that in addition to the shrinking pool of investors, there is also the question of who the investors are that are left paying the up-front costs.  Well, turns out it isn't that easy to find out:

California Air Resources Board Grants Forest Clearcutters a Free CO2 Pass

By Mark Mardon
Forests Forever

Charged with implementing the provisions of A.B. 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the California Air Resource Board (ARB) last Dec.16 held a marathon day of public testimony in Sacramento before adopting the cap-and-trade program they declared would set “the gold standard” for such programs nation-wide.

Perhaps they meant fool’s gold, because in its rush to establish the final forestry greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting protocols for the program, the board tarnished the standard by giving timber companies a free pass on clearcutting. 

A.B. 32, signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, requires California to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The cap-and-trade program being implemented to achieve that goal is due to begin in 2012.

John Laird Appointed as Secretary for Natural Resources

By Warner Chabot
California League of Conservation Voters

As one of his first actions, Governor Jerry Brown has appointed the Honorable John Laird as California Secretary for Natural Resources.  This is a superb decision.  A longtime environmental champion, John Laird served with distinction for six years as an Assemblyman representing the central coast counties of Santa Cruz and Monterey.  During this period, John received a 100% rating from both the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club for his votes on environmental issues.

The California League of Conservation Voters enthusiastically endorsed John when he ran for state office. We’re equally thrilled that he will continue to protect California’s natural, historical and cultural resources in this new role.

Open Letter to Jerry Brown: My Plan to Restore California Fisheries

By Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has received awards for his "green" leadership from NRDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the "Beautiful Earth Group" and others in recent weeks in a carefully orchestrated campaign to greenwash his environmental legacy before he leaves office.

In spite of the claims of his collaborators, Schwarzenegger's true legacy is the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, young striped bass, Sacramento splittail and other fish populations spurred by record water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from 2004 to 2006.

National Latino Organizations and Leaders Stand Against Props 23 and 26

By Valerie Jaffee (see Spanish version below)
The fight for strong clean air standards and a clean energy economy is coming to a head in California. With only a few days left before voters head to the polls, big corporate polluters are trying every trick in the book to dismantle the clean air and energy laws in our state.
But thousands across the state are speaking up to protect California from a dirty energy takeover by opposing Propositions 23 and 26.Just yesterday, dozens of national and state Latino organizations, leaders and celebrities joined together in a statewide effort to stop big oil interests from turning California into their dumping ground.

Why Maureen Gorsen is Wrong: Prop 26 Will Undermine Environmental Regulation

By Rhead Enion

On Tuesday UCLA Law released an analysis of Proposition 26′s impacts on state funding for environmental and public health programs. On Wednesday, the Yes on 26 campaign struck back with a press release in which Maureen Gorsen suggested that we failed to understand Prop 26 and ignored facts.

(The Yes on 26 campaign has relied almost exclusively on Maureen Gorsen, now an attorney at Alston + Bird, for this type of legal analysis, probably because of her background as former director of California Department of Toxic Substances Control and former general counsel of CalEPA.)

In light of this ongoing controversy, I would like to examine some of Ms. Gorsen’s claims in more detail.

California Legislature Passes a CEQA-Free Budget

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

The passage of the budget today marks several miles stones, most notability the passage of the latest budget ever. However, this budget is also remarkable for what it lacks – significant rollbacks to major environment and public health laws.

On the heels of last year's CEQA exemption for a massive NFL stadium in the City of Industry, the Governor proposed allowing 125 major development projects to skirt the critical enforcement provisions of CEQA. This dangerous proposal would have eliminated any means for local residents to hold developers accountable for the health and environmental impacts of their proposed projects.

AB 301: Schwarzenegger’s Last Chance to Have a Positive Impact on California’s Water Future

By Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes and Mark Schlosberg

For the past two years, water issues have dominated political debate in Sacramento and throughout the state, however there is one water bill on the Governor’s desk that we should all be able to agree on – AB 301 (Fuentes).

AB 301 would give Californians the right to know how much of their communities’ water is being bottled for sale and where that bottled water comes from. With water scarcity being a top concern, this modest bill is an important step towards better managing our water.

CARB Sets Ambitious Emissions Redux Targets to Promote Smart Development

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

It has been busy week for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and its efforts to tackle pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Not only did CARB adopt a standard for clean energy usage, but the Board has also adopted the final targets for emissions reduction under Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg, 2008).

Under SB 375, CARB had until September 30, 2010 the adopted targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and 2035 that are associated with passenger vehicle miles traveled. The targets adopted this week are realistic, yet ambitious, and have finally been agreed upon after careful consideration by both CARB and the state's 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Water Bond Delay Denies Voters Chance To Send Message On Environment, Spending

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

While water bond proponents like Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat Senate Pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg, scrambled for the two-thirds vote necessary to snatch Proposition 18 from the jaws of almost certain defeat at the hands of deficit and economy weary voters in November - the measure's environmental and conservationist opponents - having joined forces with good governance, education and taxpayer rights advocates - lost their bid to keep the initiative alive. Not to pass it, but to present it as a sacrificial lamb for voters to slaughter as a warning to future legislative attempts to govern by favoring special interests over the best interests of the state's economic and natural resources.