Governor Brown Launches Attack On CA Environmental Quality Act, Coastal Act

By Dan Bacher | 

Jerry Brown, routinely portrayed as a “green governor” and “climate leader” by the mainstream media, has launched yet another attack on the state’s environmental laws and openness and transparency in government.
That’s right — the California governor is aiming to eviscerate landmark laws that protect the public's right to know about the environmental and public health impacts of large development projects in this legislative land grab by developers.
Brown’s latest gambit, expressed in Trailer Bill 707, would allow housing developments “by right.” “That means the projects could occur without disclosing environmental impacts about the development, and without going through certain local permitting,” said Kyle Jones, policy advocate for Sierra Club California.
“Transparency and full disclosure before projects are approved are among the few tools everyday Californians have to make sure air and water pollution created by new projects is minimized and mitigated. Responsible developers report that allowing the public to know what's going on in advance helps improve projects,” Jones stated. 
Jones said “Irresponsible developers” have spent years trying to dismantle the disclosure and permitting process. 
Besides being opposed by environmental groups, Trailer Bill 707 is also strongly opposed by Tenants Together and other tenant rights organizations in California. They say the current proposal would have “huge negative impacts  on low-income tenants, workers, and the environment.”   
Tenants Together and member organizations have identified several ways the Governor's By-Right Development proposal could harm renters. According to Tenants Together, the Governor's proposal would:
  • Increase the development of market-rate housing without additional tenant protections against displacement;
  • Bypass community benefits agreements process where community groups are able to get developers to build more affordable housing;
  • Lead to potential demolition of rent-controlled homes because projects would bypass the public approval process.

In addition to this being a bad bill, the process used to push this bill through the Legislature shows the disdain that Governor Brown and his developer buddies have for openness and transparency in government. 
“Trailer bills are pieces of legislation that change policy as part of the budget process," explained Kyle Jones. “That means that these bills do not go through various policy committees necessary to vet legislation, and can fly under the public's radar.” .
In June, the California Budget Conference Committee postponed hearing Trailer Bill 707--"By-Right Development," so we still have time to stop this developer land grab. We can’t let Governor Brown ignore the value of the public's right to be a part of the process of environmental review.  
Take action to oppose the proposal as it stands by signing on to this petition.  
Brown’s latest attack on CEQA and the Coastal Act must be seen in light of Brown’s overall poor environmental record. Even his grandstanding on “climate change” and “green energy” that he gets so much undeserved credit for is based on environmentally unjust carbon trading and REDD policies.
Background: Brown’s real environmental “legacy exposed
Jerry Brown’s record on fish, wildlife, water and the environment has been deplorable since he started his third term in January 2011, but you wouldn’t know it, judging by the often fawning coverage Brown receives from mainstream media and much of the “alternative” media. 
The Governor’s “legacy project,” the Delta Tunnels/California Water Fix, poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems, but it’s not the only environmentally devastating policy promoted by Governor Jerry Brown. 
Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in California and is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction. 
As if those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t bad enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011. 
Jerry Brown also oversaw the “completion” of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering. 
Brown spouts “green” rhetoric when he flies off to climate conferences and issues proclamations about John Muir Day and Earth Day, but his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment are among the worst of any Governor in recent California history. 
More information about the real environmental record of Governor Jerry Brown can be viewed here
Photo by Dan Bacher

Follow Us



Elk Grove News Minute

All previous Elk Grove News Minutes, interviews, and Dan Schmitt's Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me podcasts are now available on iTunes

Elk Grove News Podcast