For Immediate Release, July 24, 2007
Gary Patton, Planning and Conservation League, (916) 313-4520
Brian Nowicki, Center for Biological Diversity, firstname.lastname@example.org, (520) 449-3898
Linda Krop, Environmental Defense Center, (805) 963-1622 x 106
Conservation Groups Call on Governor Schwarzenegger to
Stand Up for Global Warming Law:
Senate Republicans Hold State Budget Hostage to
Favors for Development and Fossil-Fuels Lobby
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Conservation groups called on Governor Schwarzenegger today to publicly oppose efforts by the Republican minority in the California State Senate to exempt greenhouse gas emissions from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
“California’s budget bill is currently being held hostage by a small minority of senators trying to force the majority into accepting a measure to exempt new projects from CEQA’s requirement to analyze and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We ask that you speak out publicly against this and any future attempts to roll back California’s efforts to fight global warming,” read the letter.
The California Environmental Quality Act, a bedrock state environmental law, requires all state and local agencies to assess and reduce significant environmental impacts from new developments and other projects. The California Attorney General and many conservation organizations have sought to hold agencies and project applicants accountable for compliance with respect to greenhouse gas emissions.
On June 21, 2007, the California Building Industry Association, Western States Petroleum Association, and other fossil-fuel interest groups sent a letter to the governor and the state legislature seeking an “administrative or legislative remedy” to exempt the greenhouse gas emissions of developments and other projects from review under the Act.
On Friday, July 20, after the state assembly passed a budget bill and sent it to the Senate, Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman halted passage of the bill and set out a number of demands, including a provision to exempt developments and other projects from review of greenhouse gases. Such a measure is completely inappropriate for the budget bill and is being introduced in an insidious, back-door fashion to forestall public outcry and legislative debate.
After an all-night session through Saturday morning, Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata adjourned the Senate until Wednesday, with instructions to Senate Republicans to provide a unified list of demands for the passage of the budget. It is uncertain whether the California Environmental Quality Act exemption for greenhouse gases will be part of this list of demands.
California is a national leader in efforts to fight global warming, and the California Environmental Quality Act is prominent among the laws and policies that are addressing greenhouse gas pollution. Other critically important laws and policies include the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires California to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and Executive Order S-3-05, which sets a goal of reaching emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Read the groups’ letter to the governor.
Californians Against Waste • Californians for Renewable Energy, Inc. (CARE) • California Wind Energy Association • Center for Biological Diversity • Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment • Central Valley Safe Environment Network (CVSEN) • Clean Power Campaign • Communities for a Better Environment • Community Environmental Council • Defenders of Wildlife • Environment California • Environmental Defense Center • Los Angeles Audubon Society •Pacific Environment • The Pacific Forest Trust • Planning and Conservation League • San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society • San Diego Coastkeeper • San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center • San Joaquin Valley Conservancy • Sierra Club California • Sierra Club, San Gorgonio Chapter • Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation • Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC)