Sheehan, Traci


Traci Sheehan is the Executive Director of The Planning and Conservation League, a statewide, nonprofit lobbying organization. For more than thirty years, PCL has fought to develop a body of environmental laws in California that is the best in the United States.

Delta Plan Takes It Head On: Flow Standards, Water Budgets and Fees

By Evon Chambers
Planning and Conservation League

On Tuesday, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) released their fifth draft of the Delta Plan. The DSC has been tasked with crafting a Delta Plan that ensures California’s water supply reliability while restoring our fragile Bay-Delta ecosystem’s health. This translates to reduced reliance on the Delta and increased regional self-sufficiency.

With that in mind, the draft has three very practical, yet very provocative, provisions:

Require water agencies to implement pricing structures to encourage conservation

Recommend fees on utility systems that depend on Delta levees, and a surcharge on water used in the state, to pay for levee and habitat projects.

The First Sustainable Community Strategy Is Released - How Did it Fare?

By Traci Sheehan

California's Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, is the nation's first legislation to link transportation and land use planning with global warming. The bill, passed in 2008, has the potential to truly transform California’s development practices by requiring local agencies to coordinate land-use, transportation and housing planning in order to curb sprawl, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lessen vehicle miles traveled, and promote social equity in our urban core. Such planning often happens in isolation in today’s regulatory structure.

High Speed Rail Federal Funding Has Disappeared, Now What?

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

The California high speed rail project has suffered another setback this week as President Barack Obama and other federal officials slashed this year’s high speed rail budget in an effort to avoid a government blackout. Last Friday, in a second effort to avoid a shutdown, the high speed rail budget was cut from the $2.5 billion annual allocation to $1 billion; it was on Tuesday however that the final $1 billion was taken off the table all but terminating any local high speed rail projects here in California for the year.

The future of the proposed 520 mile route from San Francisco to Los Angeles is now up in the air as many members of the GOP have taken aim at high-speed rail as an obvious area to cut spending during the most recent budget crisis.

It Rained, It Poured, And We Stored: Why Aren't We Building More?

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Last week Governor Brown declared the end of the drought, the CA Department of Water Resources reports snow pack is at all-time highs, dams are filling up and rivers are fast flowing, all in all 2011 has been a great water year.  

Budget Problems and Water: The Elephant in the Room

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Teachers, firefighters and police officers know what the economy is doing to the vital services they provide. Our most vulnerable aged and disabled are literally feeling the pain of budget cuts; and everyday citizens are tightening their belts by multiple notches at a time.

However, the water establishment is acting like it is immune to federal, State and local budget retractions. Somehow despite the Congressional push for deficit reduction, the State electorate’s distaste for more bond borrowing, and local revenue constraints in the forms of Proposition 219, Proposition 26, and growing ratepayer discomfort, are not getting through.

Northern California Rejects Long-Term Water Transfer Agreement

By Traci Sheehan  
Planning and Conservation League

Just days away from a program scoping process comment deadline, northern California water irrigation districts stand firm behind their February 2nd letter, which states they will not agree to sell their water to Central Valley water contractors.

The proposed U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s 10-year “Long-Term North to South Water Transfers” program, would ship up to thousands of acre-feet of water from northern California to the San Luis&Delta-Mendota Water Authority; which represents agricultural water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The realization of this program is contingent on the willingness of northern California sellers and that willingness has yet to be seen.

Guess Who is Willing to Risk Having The Delta Pumps Shut Down?

By Traci Sheehan
The Planning and Conservation League

Nope it’s not the environmentalists, not the Delta interests either, and not even the fishermen. It is actually, some of the federally subsidized corporate water users on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  

Last week, Congressman Nunes (CA-21) introduced an amendment to the House Congressional Resolution Funding Bill. This amendment would prevent the federal government from implementing the Biological Opinions under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Biological Opinions are needed to protect the Delta ecosystem, while still allowing reasonable amounts of water exports out of the Delta.  

Another Attempt For Another CEQA Exemption For Another Football Stadium in Los Angeles

By Traci Sheehan

Last year in the final stretch of the legislative session, the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) tried to push for a legislative exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the proposed building of a football stadium in Los Angeles next to the Staples Center. Ultimately, when the gavel came down on August 31st, the CEQA exemption was not granted; or any other significant attempt to weaken California’s premier environmental law.

East Bay Municipal Utility District Triumphs Again - This Time on National Level

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Four years after the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors tirelessly fought and passed California’s “Get the Lead Out” bill, President Obama on Thursday signed into law the national version. 

The toughest drinking water plumbing lead content standard in the world, California Assembly Bill 1953 (Chan, D-Oakland), reduced the lead content standard for drinking water plumbing from 8 percent to 0.25 percent and required manufacturers to remove lead from faucets and other water fixtures.

San Jose Bag Ban Raises Bar

Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Hailed by proponents as the most far reaching in the country, San Jose has become the largest city to ban single use plastic carry-out bags. Building off of precedent set by San Francisco in 2007, San Jose’s new ban, which begins implementation in 2012, will effectively outlaw the use of plastic bags in nearly all areas of the retail industry-whereas San Francisco limited its plastic bag ban to grocery stores and pharmacies. In an effort to encourage bringing reusable cloth bags from home, San Jose, unlike San Francisco, will be requiring retailers to charge their customers for disposable paper bags