Cal. GOP wants end to Brown black-balling local plans over GHGs

Legal News Line Aug. 6, 2007, 11:35am

OAKLAND and SACRAMENTO -- California Attorney General Jerry Brown is feeling the sting of backlash over his recent crackdowns on local governments' anti-emissions planning. Brown has recently been trying to force local governments in the Golden State to alter development blueprints to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He has already sued San Bernardino County and leant heavily on others, including San Diego and San Jose. This is despite some doubt over whether the methods Brown is recommending local entities employ in their development plans will have any significant impact on the overall carbon emission levels. But angry statehouse Republicans have since used Brown's actions to partly justify delaying passage of the budget. And GOP state Sen. Bob Dutton is now proposing legislation to bar Brown or anyone else from using GHG emissions as a reason to block development. Most recently, Brown criticized a major San Jose-area "affordable housing" development for potentially adding significantly to the area's GHG output, LNL reported. A few weeks earlier he handed San Diego a list of alternative "greener" building design and transport strategies. San Bernardino County, which Brown sued in April to force changes to its growth plan, is still awaiting a resolution of its suit after extending Brown an olive branch in May, LNL reported. The county is one of the fastest-growing in the United States. Republican lawmakers say Brown's actions are unfair to developers in such areas, who are waiting for the Air Resources Board to issue GHG limits. Dutton's proposal would remain in place until 2011, when the statewide emissions levels are due to be set, he told the San Diego Union Tribune (SDUT). A Republican statement issued Thursday called Brown's threats "not unlike getting a speeding ticket when no speed limit has been determined and no signage has been posted." Spending the resources is anyway questionable. As American Enterprise Institute analyst Joel Schwartz told SDUT: "[N]either Jerry Brown nor city governments nor county governments can really do anything through planning to have more than a token effect on carbon dioxide emissions."

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