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  PCL Fights Back Against Business Attack on CEQA

June 26, 2007

Read the letter from businesses attacking CEQA here:

(812K PDF file)

A PDF version of the PCL response letter (the text of this html page):

(248K PDF file)

Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
State of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Honorable Don Perata
President pro Tem of the California State Senate
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Honorable Fabian Núñez
Speaker of the California State Assembly
California State Assembly
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

            RE: Business Attack on the State's Global Warming Prevention Efforts

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger, Senator Perata, and Speaker Núñez:

Each of you have recently received a letter dated June 21st from a list of California business organizations, claiming that "urgent legislative action is needed to prevent delays and interruptions to vital housing, commercial and public infrastructure projects …" Specifically, this letter claims that changes should be made to the California Environmental Quality Act.

Please be clear that the June 21st business letter is nothing less than a declaration of war against feasible efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state of California.

The Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly have made Californians proud, because our state leaders have stepped up to the plate and recognized what the federal Administration has continued to deny – that global warming is real, and that it's a threat to our environmental and economic future.

The June 21st business letter claims that the Attorney General and others are "premature" in their efforts to make certain that we begin immediately to address the global warming threat. Confronting global warming, and confronting it now, is an urgent requirement for California. There is nothing "premature" about getting to work on the problem. And, as everyone who knows anything about global warming recognizes, business as usual won't work.

AB 32 was not a "stand pat" direction to do nothing on global warming, and to defer all action on global warming emissions until future rulemaking procedures have run their course. But that's what the business leaders who signed the June 21st letter apparently want people to believe.

Most of the actions complained of by the business leaders signing the June 21st letter are actions taken by the Attorney General, to make certain that everyone actually does what the California Environmental Quality Act requires – to reduce or avoid environmental harm. In fact, despite the complaints contained in the June 21st letter, CEQA's purpose and the goals of AB 32 are in complete harmony.

CEQA is our single strongest environmental law, and it requires, as a general principle, that an environmental impact review be carried out when any proposed governmental action might have a significant negative impact on the environment. It also requires that feasible mitigation measures be implemented when negative impacts are identified. We know that continued emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will almost certainly have a negative impact on existing water supplies, agriculture, wildlife and wildlife habitat, our forests, public health, and the California economy. AB 32 acknowledges this in its initial findings and declarations:

Global warming poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and the environment of California …

Global warming will have detrimental effects on some of California's largest industries, including agriculture, wine, tourism, skiing, recreational and commercial fishing, and forestry. It will also increase the strain on electricity supplies necessary to meet the demand for summer air-conditioning in the hottest parts of the state.

The California Environmental Quality Act requires governmental agencies to consider what can be done to eliminate or reduce the impacts of projects that might otherwise make global warming worse, and it calls for "feasible" (and that means economically feasible) mitigation measures.

Californians, including California businesses, need to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate the adverse effects of global warming, and we need to do it now! That's what AB 32 requires, and that's what CEQA requires!

The June 21st letter from California business leaders is essentially asking you to repeal AB 32's goals and CEQA's purpose. Shame on that idea!

PCL trusts that you will repudiate this ill-advised and selfish call to repeal CEQA where global warming is concerned. We must not delay and defer our efforts to confront the global warming crisis.

Very truly yours,

Gary A. Patton, Executive Director
Planning and Conservation League


cc:        Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General
            All Members of the California State Legislature
            Business Leaders Signed On To June 21st Letter
            Other Interested Persons


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