Weaken a key environmental law to help California meet its climate change goals? That’s what a state lawmaker proposes. Except from LA Times article is below.
If this come to be, then why not revise laws that make it harder or more time-consuming for forest managers to conduct fuels treatments and other activities that reduce fire hazards or fire intensity? According to data from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the roughly 700,000 acres burned by wildfires in Idaho last year resulted in the emission of 12,300,000 tons of carbon dioxide, about 120 percent of the 10,200,000 tons of CO2 emitted by on-road vehicles in Idaho during the same period. Reduce the number of acres burned and you reduce emissions.
Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord) has introduced legislation that aims to make it harder for lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, to stop construction of roads and public transit.
CEQA requires developers and public agencies to disclose a project’s environmental effects and take steps to reduce or eliminate them. But Grayson says the law can grind to a halt transportation projects that are needed to reduce the amount of cars on the road.
His legislation, Assembly Bill 1905, would make it easier for road or transit projects included in a state-approved regional growth plan to begin construction before any CEQA litigation is resolved.
Since state climate regulators will have already signed off on those road and transit projects when approving a region’s growth plan, the projects shouldn’t face multiple threats of environmental litigation, Grayson argues.
“What I’m looking at is how do we cut down on traffic congestion where we’re just spilling greenhouse gases, creating clouds of greenhouse gases and impacting the environment negatively,” Grayson said.
But Grayson’s approach is already attracting concerns from high-profile environmental organizations. Environmental groups often credit CEQA, which took effect in 1970, with preserving California’s natural beauty, and argue it is complementary — not contrary — to the more recent climate change laws.