Historic Land Use Bill's Steam Could Run Out

A California bill that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by controlling land use may be one of the most important land use bills in years, according to Bill Fulton. But if it passes, the progress it makes could be short lived.
August 20, 2008, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"SB 375 is, of course, Sen. Darrell Steinberg's bill that would implement the AB 32 greenhouse gas emissions reduction bill by tying state transportation and infrastructure money to regional plans to create 'sustainability communities.' It has been years since California Planning & Development Report has covered a bill this much."

"Last year, the bill got almost all the way through the Legislature before Steinberg pulled it at the last minute. Ever since, it has been the focus of extensive negotiations among builders, local governments, and environmentalists. Last week, proponents announced a deal had been done – but this may have been wishful thinking."

"The reason for all this hullabaloo is that all the experts agree the state can't hit the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in AB 32 through technological fixes alone, and that 10-15% of the solution has to come from changing growth patterns in a way that reduces overall driving. This attention to land use has given smart growth advocates and environmentalists an opening in Sacramento, but it's not something that builders or local governments really want to hear."

"We assume SB 375 will pass in some form, setting off a frenzy of activity in California on how to implement the legislation. But it's worth noting that the whole AB 32 thing might be short-lived. No matter who is elected president in November, it's likely that a federal greenhouse gas reduction bill will pass that could override AB 32. Even if there is no new federal legislation, it's likely that the next administration – of whichever party – will likely give California more leeway on technological solutions."

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Published on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 in California Planning and Development Report
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