Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Governor Schwarzenegger took one step toward a green economy and one step back with today’s state-of-the-state address.

By proposing a sales tax exemption for clean-tech manufacturing equipment, the Governor recognized that green jobs can lead our economic recovery. California’s pioneering standards on zero-emission vehicles and renewable energy can attract new jobs to our state.

But his proposal to exempt up to 28 private projects from community challenge under the California Environmental Quality Act represents backward thinking. CEQA provides people in the communities surrounding a proposed project a chance to see the details of a project, the potential alternatives and mitigation measures that would ameliorate the significant impacts of the project on public health, living conditions and the environment. Local people often have excellent knowledge of local conditions, and can make good suggestions for improvement of project design or the most cogent arguments why a project is wholly inappropriate for a particular location. This bill would completely undermine – for the projects it covers -- the ability of local residents to have a real say in what happens to their community, and essentially transfer local land use decisions to a single state agency. Bad planning will hinder, not help, our economic recovery, and we applaud Senate President pro tem Steinberg for saying that there is no need for this legislation.

Bill Magavern, Director, Sierra Club California