Friday, April 18, 2008

A Half-Baked Idea for Half Moon Bay

Would you feel safe on the highway if other drivers could get out of a speeding ticket – or worse -- by simply suspending the state laws?

Assembly Bill 1991, currently pending in the California Legislature, would do a similar thing for environmental protections. It aims to exempt 36 acres of Half Moon Bay from the state’s most important environmental laws, including the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Coastal Act and safeguards for water quality, fish and animals.

Passage of the bill would pave the way for construction of 129 houses on sensitive coastal wetlands near some of the world’s best surfing and wildlife-watching beaches – without giving scientists or the public their say.

There’s no question the city of Half Moon Bay is in a tough spot. A recent legal settlement inexplicably requires the city of Half Moon Bay to pay $18 million to the developer unless this proposed law is passed to allow the so-called Beachwood and Glencree developments evade environmental laws.

But the city vastly overstepped its authority when it committed to sponsor a bill in the California Legislature that strips environmental laws to pave the way for development of these coastal wetlands.

We can’t abandon the rule of law and our state’s rich history of environmental protection whenever a local government finds itself in trouble. Local governments and developers need to know they can’t ransom city budgets to evade environmental protections.

Join Sierra Club California in stopping this harmful bill before it speeds away with our most valuable environmental protections. Write your California Assembly member and tell them you think environmental laws need to stay in place.

Who’s your representative? Find out

See what Sierra Club California told the Assembly about this frightening potential precedent here.

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