California's Environment Bears the Cost of Growing the Economy

Over a long career in public office, Gov. Jerry Brown has earned a reputation as a pioneer in the modern environmental movement. Now, in the twilight of that career, some see him forsaking that path for the pragmatism of economic growth.

During his first go-round as governor, nearly four decades ago, California's leadership in crafting energy-efficiency standards, enacting anti-smog laws and regulating offshore drilling earned Brown a reputation as a paragon of the modern environmental movement. "But," reports Michael J. Mishak, "in his return engagement as California's chief executive, he has eased key regulations for oil companies, capped wildfire liability for timber companies and relaxed the state's landmark environmental law."

The "new pragmatism" that defines the governor's current administration has put his (and the state's) environmental leadership at cross purposes with efforts to grow the state's sluggish economy, writes Mishak. "As the state forges ahead with an ambitious program to combat global warming by penalizing major polluters, Brown has said he also wants to unshackle development and create jobs by overhauling California's signature environmental law. And although he signed legislation requiring the state to get a third of its power from renewable energy sources, he is supporting the oil industry's push for more drilling."

What the governor's supporters see as a balanced approach has critics worried about tipping the scales too far towards the private sector. As Mishak explains, "Environmentalists say Brown's actions undercut his own efforts to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade and imperil the state's standing as a leader on climate change."

Full Story: Jerry Brown readjusts his stand on the environment vs. business


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.