2011 California Environmental Legislative Recap--A Touch More Green

2011 California Environmental Legislative Recap--A Touch More Green

By Mr. Gary Lucks

Get the latest analysis of environmental laws recently passed by the California Legislature. The article includes coverage of 2011 state legislation on a variety of topics, such as climate change, air and water quality, energy, the California Environmental Quality Act, land use, sustainability, and hazardous waste. The article also appears as the Lead Article for the March 2012 issue of California Environmental Law Reporter (Matthew Bender).

"California Governor Jerry Brown set the tone for breaking the enduring gridlock in Sacramento by tackling the structural budget deficit head on. The Governor declared and reaffirmed the existence of a fiscal emergency, triggering another extraordinary legislative session to address the problem. He championed a controversial strategy of abolishing the state's approximately 400 redevelopment agencies to save approximately $1.7 million annually. He signed AB X1 26 (Blumenfield), which is one of two budget trailer bills fashioned to revamp the state's programs governing redevelopment projects for cities and counties. This urgency law took a knife to California's redevelopment agencies which were originally established to combat urban blight. This law suspends the functions of California's redevelopment agencies and prohibits them from taking on indebtedness while establishing a process to wind down their operations. In December 2011, California Supreme Court upheld this new law [see California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos (2011) 2011 Cal. LEXIS 13325].

Another law-AB X1 27 (Blumenfield)-was intended to establish an alternative voluntary redevelopment program allowing redevelopment agencies to continue functioning provided that the agencies were to make voluntary payments to the state. This law was struck down by the Supreme Court in California Redevelopment Agency v. Matosantos, above."

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Lexis.com subscribers can access the Lexis enhanced version of the decision with summary, headnotes, and Shepard's, California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos (Ana)/(County of Santa Clara), 2011 Cal. LEXIS 13325 (Cal. Dec. 29, 2011).

Gary A. Lucks, JD CPEA is a Principal at BEYOND COMPLIANCE, LLC, in Oakland, California, where he advises clients on multimedia environmental regulatory compliance, auditing, and sustainability. He is a certified professional environmental auditor and regular instructor at the University of California (U.C.) Berkeley and U.C. Davis Extension Program where he teaches courses on environmental law, legislation, auditing, compliance, and sustainability. He currently serves as an advisor to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and on the California State Bar Environmental Legislation Committee. He also chairs the West Coast Auditing Roundtable. Mr. Lucks has published numerous articles and newsletters addressing environmental legislation and policy. He is the coauthor of a book entitled: California Environmental Law and Policy: A Practical Guide and is co-founder of the Sustainable Earth Initiative (SEI), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping businesses and government become more sustainable through local actions.

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