Land Use

What Are The Benefits Of Phasing Out California’s Oil & Gas Production?

Emissions should decrease but multiple factors complicate any predictions

It might seem obvious that phasing out oil and gas production in California would benefit the climate. But the reality is much more complicated, in terms of emissions, economics and even geopolitics. CLEE just released the report Legal Grounds with policy options to reduce in-state production, but the question of how much a phase out …

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Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ranking the lost landscapes and environmental features

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization …

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Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

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Roadmap For California To Phase Out Oil & Gas Production

New CLEE report released today with legal options for state policy makers & free May 12th webinar

California is the seventh-largest oil producing state in the country, with a fossil fuel industry that is responsible for billions of dollars in state and local revenue and other economic activity each year. Yet continued oil and gas production contrasts with the state’s aggressive climate mitigation policies, while creating significant air and water pollution, particularly …

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Are Pandemics An Argument Against Cities?

COVID-19 spread shows governance matters more than density

With the COVID-19 virus shutting down cities and countries all over the world, anti-urban advocates are seizing the moment to argue that pandemics prove urban density is bad. For example, longtime sprawl booster Joel Kotkin argues that shelter-in-place orders and fear of contagion will push people to demand more lower-density homes, far from crowded and …

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California’s New Housing Bill Seeks To End Single-Family Zoning

Sen. Wiener introduces SB 902 to increase suburban density & streamline transit-oriented housing

Sen. Scott Wiener is back trying to boost California housing production again, after his SB 50 legislation to upzone for apartments around transit died in the State Senate in January. This time, he’s proposing a “lighter touch” approach, salvaging an SB 50 provision that would end single-family zoning across the state. Senate Bill 902 would …

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Tracing Trump’s Trillion Trees

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The president’s embrace of massive tree planting has a remarkable — and questionable — backstory

During last week’s State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump said: To protect the environment, days ago I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world. Astute regular …

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BREAKING: SB 50 Voted Down By State Senators Representing Affluent Suburbs

Final vote today kills major climate-land use legislation to legalize apartments near transit

The California State Senate this morning (after an initial vote last night) narrowly and finally voted to kill SB 50, a major climate-land use bill that would have allowed apartment buildings near major transit stops and job centers, as well as fourplex conversions statewide. Despite high-profile opposition from some low-income tenants groups, the senators voting …

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The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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The Real Lesson From Madrid’s Failed Climate Conference? Spain’s Success On Urban Quality of Life & Carbon Emissions

Southern European nation excels at walkability, reduced emissions & resident happiness

The UN climate conference in Madrid last month may have ended poorly, but conference attendees had a big success story right in front of them in the host country. Spain’s success achieving efficient – and enjoyable – land use and transportation outcomes is a model other countries and states should emulate to address climate change. …

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