California Lawmakers Fight Over Land Use Lawsuits

<p>This year's budget dispute is colored by the state's effort to force local governments to reign in sprawl and stop global warming.</p>
July 27, 2007, 10am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Not a single Republican voted for California's landmark global warming law when the state Senate passed it last year.

Today, the minority party is taking advantage of the law by using it as leverage during negotiations on the overdue state budget.

Republicans are upset that Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has told at least a dozen cities and counties that they must offset the increased greenhouse gas emissions that will be a byproduct of future growth. Republicans say that will hurt cities' and counties' transportation and housing plans, and want language in the state budget to protect local governments from what they see as Brown's overly aggressive tactics.

The attorney general already has sued one Southern California county over the matter.

"The hurdle that's being put forward by the attorney general's lawsuits, we think, is something that needs to be addressed," said Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster.

The land-use spat has emerged as one of the most unexpected and divisive points stalling passage of California's $145 billion spending plan, which lawmakers were supposed to approve in mid-June. Democrats and environmentalists fear that what Republicans really want to achieve through the budget process is a way to weaken long-standing environmental checks on local development."

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Published on Thursday, July 26, 2007 in AP via Forbes
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