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'Green' Governor Fast-Tracks Highway Construction

Environmentalists reject CA Gov. Schwarzenegger's attempt to waive new highway construction projects from environmental review to qualify for Obama's stimulus package, offering 'fix-it-first' construction and public transit projects as alternatives.
January 13, 2009, 8am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Schwarzenegger is proposing to largely exempt the 10 highway projects from the California Environmental Quality Act, a 1970 law requiring review of big projects and efforts to offset any deleterious effects on the surroundings.

Schwarzenegger has infuriated the Sierra Club and other groups with such proposals and with a letter he sent to President-elect Barack Obama last week asking that federal environmental reviews be waived on the highway projects."

"The governor has a green streak, but it's in conflict with his desire to pour more concrete and build more highways," said Sierra Club California director Bill Magavern. "We don't buy the idea that to stimulate the economy, we need to weaken standards that protect the public health and environment."

"A better alternative (according to a report by California's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office) would be pressing ahead with 122 less contentious projects around the state involving rehabilitation of battered pavement, bridges and highway drainage.

Environmentalists have a list of scores of other "green" projects -- mostly improvements to public bus and rail transit systems -- that are ready to go but lack funding."

Thanks to Leonard Conly

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Published on Saturday, January 10, 2009 in Los Angeles Times
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