What’s The Future Of California’s High Speed Rail System?


Join My KALW Radio Conversation Tonight With Authority Chair Dan Richard At 7pm

California’s high speed rail system has been moving at a low speed since voters approved a bond issue to launch it in 2008. That ballot measure authorized a bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles and eventually Anaheim, at speeds of 220 miles per hour and stops in Central Valley cities like Fresno and […]

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Of Initiative Wars, Plastic Bags and Poison Pills


Deciphering California’s (Intentionally) Confusing Plastic Bag Propositions

California’s longstanding efforts to eliminate single-use plastic bags from the marketplace and the environment have finally reached California voters. The November 8th general election ballot contains a breathtaking 17 separate propositions–16 proposed initiative measures and one referendum measure.   Propositions 65 and 67 both deal with the same subject–a proposed ban on single-sue plastic bags.  Those dueling measures […]

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California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandate In Need Of Reform

Long-term climate goals depend on addressing the current “glut” of compliance credits

California leads the nation in plug-in electric vehicle sales, with about 40% of the nationwide total happening in the Golden State. While some of that progress is related to the sheer market size here, much of it is due to state policies. And the biggest of those policies is the “zero emission vehicle” (or “ZEV”) […]

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California Enacts Legislation Targeting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants


The statute codifies the goals set by the Governor and ARB

On Monday, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 into law, establishing statewide targets for reducing what are known as “short-lived climate pollutants,” which I have discussed in previous posts. The law requires a 40% reduction in both methane and hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs) below 2013 levels, and a 50% reduction in black carbon from 2013 level. Legislators […]

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State regulation of environmental harms on federal lands

California Supreme Court case indicates substantial authority for states to act

Sean has already reported on the recent Rinehart decision by the California Supreme Court, in which the Court concluded that a state law imposing a temporary moratorium on the use of suction dredge equipment in California waterways was not preempted by federal mining law.  Here, I just want to add to Sean’s excellent summary by […]

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Does Light Rail Get People Out of Their Cars?


Hopeful Findings from a New Metro Survey

My nominee for Greatest Article Title Of All Time is Don Pickrell’s 1992 piece in the Journal of the American Planning Association. Pickrell argued that while planners and local governments poured money into light rail, it never got the hoped-for ridership. The title? “A Desire Named Streetcar.” Well, as it turns out now, Los Angeles […]

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The Clean Water Act, Federalism, Big Money and the California Supreme Court


Ill-considered Supreme Court Decision Threatens California’s Administration of Clean Water Act Permit Program

The California Supreme Court recently issued a little-noticed decision on a seemingly arcane state public finance issue that could well wind up having a dramatic, negative effect on California’s continued ability to administer the federal Clean Water Act’s permit program in the Golden State. The case is Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates.  In […]

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The future politics of cap-and-trade in California

It doesn’t look so good for the oil and gas industry

As Ann and Ethan both noted, two major pieces of climate legislation were passed by the California legislature this week, and Governor Brown has promised to sign both bills.  Overall, the legislation extends the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals (which were originally to reach 1990 levels of emissions by 2020) out to a 40% reduction […]

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Major Challenges Face the National Park Service in Its Next Century


Park Overcrowding, Crumbling Infrastructure, Changing Constituency Top the List

(This is the third in a series of posts this week commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service.) To be sure, the National Park Service has much to celebrate as it observes its 100th birthday.  The Park Service oversees a stunning and diverse set of national parks, monuments, historic and […]

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