Friday, March 9, 2012

PCL Insider for March 7, 2012

The Planning and Conservation League
 PCL INSIDER: News from the Capitol


On February 9th, Assemblymember Dickinson (D-Sacramento) introduced AB 1627, the Healthy Neighborhoods Act, a bill sponsored by the Planning and Conservation League (PCL). AB 1627, which was initially introduced last year as AB 605, would require the California Energy Commission (CEC), in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), to develop building standards for reducing vehicle miles travelled (VMT) that would otherwise be generated from the building project. In addition to promoting better project location, AB 1627 would require developers to incorporate project design, travel demand management, and offsite mitigation measures in their projects to reduce VMT. If passed into law, AB 1627 will create healthier communities where major services and amenities are within walking distance, where children worry less about asthma because of the pollution and families reduce the threat of obesity by enjoying outside activities, and where new development reduces greenhouse gas emissions rather than exacerbating climate change. PCL thanks Assemblymember Roger Dickinson for his leadership on creating healthier communities, and we look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the Healthy Neighborhoods Act as it moves through the legislature.


The deadline to introduce bills in the second year of the two session legislature was February 24th.  Here are just a few of the bills the Planning and Conservation League is following and the positions we are taking. Over the coming months PCL will keep you informed and hopefully engaged on these bills and dozens more that will impact California’s lands, air, waters and communities. 

 SB 973 (Vargas)  - This bill, co-authored by Assemblymember Garrick, would exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) the approval of a park use or special events permit for a limited duration event, as defined, for specified purposes that is located on public property, within a public right of way, or within a defined event venue. OPPOSE

 AB 1570 (Perea)/SB 984 (Simitian, Steinberg, and Strickland) - Introduced in separate houses, both bill have the same bill language. Currently, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) establishes a procedure for the preparation and certification of the record of proceedings upon the filing of an action or proceeding challenging a lead agency's action on the grounds of noncompliance with CEQA. These bills would require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant, to, among other things, prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation and certification of an Environmental Impact Report.  LIKELY SUPPORT

 AB 1574 (Galgiani) - This bill would enact a new California High-Speed Rail Act. The bill would continue the High-Speed Rail Authority in existence with limited responsibilities and would place the authority within the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. IN DISCUSSION  


Last week, the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1837, a bill authored by Congressman Nunes (R-Visalia). The bill passed by a 246 to 175 margin on a largely partisan vote. However, the prospects of the bill passing the Democrat-controlled Senate are grim, and the bill would likely be vetoed by President Obama if it did make it to his desk. Senator Feinstein released a statement calling the bill “slanted and dangerously short-sighted.”  The Obama administration also released a harsh statement which stated, “The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act because the bill would unravel decades of work to forge consensus, solutions, and settlements that equitably address some of California's most complex water challenges.”

 H.R. 1837 would rewrite two decades of water law in California, abolish environmental protections for species and ecosystems, reverses complex restoration efforts, and eliminates federal irrigation policy reforms that have long irritated agribusiness in the Central Valley. The Planning and Conservation League has been tracking the progress of this egregious bill since Congressman Nunes introduced the legislation last May. Stay tuned for the latest updates as H.R. 1837 heads to the Senate. Until then, contact your Senator and urge their no vote on H.R. 1837.


PCL seeks an energetic individual to coordinate our membership efforts, communications and special events. The Membership & Events Coordinator will maintain PCL’s donor database, coordinate appeals and member mailings, manage website and electronic communications, organize our annual Symposium and special events, and support efforts to increase PCL’s brand recognition, grow and mobilize our membership, and assist with fundraising. For more information please click here.



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