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News about the EJ movement, environmental issues and relevant political devlopments

MTC Told To Make Good on “One Bay Area” Community: Civil Rights Groups Press Commission To Put Equity on Its Agenda

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 06/24/2011 - 1:51pm
Urban Habitat

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2011

MTC Told To Make Good on “One Bay Area” Community
Civil Rights Groups Press Commission To Put Equity on Its Agenda

After close to three hours of lively and sometimes rancorous debate at their June 22 joint meeting, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) opened the door to advancing social equity in their long-term planning projects.

Under the banner of “One Bay Area,” MTC and ABAG have launched their work to plan how the Bay Area will grow in the next generation.  This planning process will implement SB 375, the important companion legislation to AB 32, California’s landmark climate law.

SB 375 requires MTC to partner with ABAG to come up with a “Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS)” to reduce driving and greenhouse gas emissions in the region by supporting transit service that links jobs and affordable housing. The SCS will be included in MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan that distributes more than $200 billion in state and federal funds.

Tea Party: Anti-Sprawl Plan Will Take Your Freedom

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 06/15/2011 - 12:30pm

The East Bay Tea Party has taken aim at a wonky effort to encourage housing near transit hubs
The words flash onto a black screen: “The ‘New World Order’ is here.” Dramatic music swells as the message continues: “One Global Vision, Designed by the United Nations, To Strip you of Your Freedom.”

What could be so sinister? According to the video posted on the East Bay Tea Party’s website, it’s the Sustainable Communities Strategy being developed by two of the wonkiest governmental bodies in the Bay Area: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

In Blow to Big Polluters, Judge Halts California's Cap and Trade Program

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 06/15/2011 - 12:30pm

The judge greenlighted most of the policies in California's AB32 except the cap and trade plan, which some argued would benefit polluters at the expense of poor communities.

San Francisco's Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE) announced today that it received the judge's writ in its lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The writ gives the green light to most of the policies advanced under AB32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act, but puts a permanent hold on cap and trade.

"Judge Ernest Goldsmith of the San Francisco Superior Court ruled that CARB violated CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) when, among other things, it failed to properly consider alternatives to a 'cap and trade' program in its Scoping Plan to implement AB 32," CRPE's statement says. "The Court's Writ, issued Friday, enjoins, or stops, all implementation and actions in furtherance of cap and trade until CARB completes a lawfully adequate CEQA review."

Richmond City council votes to practice precaution

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 05/20/2011 - 3:09pm

RIchmond City Council

In a complex and dynamic world where scientific certainty is hard to come by and new technologies, chemicals and industrial processes are being introduced into the world, Richmond’s City Council decided that it is best to take a cautious approach to making policies and city planning. At least, that’s the aim of a resolution passed at last night’s city council meeting.

The idea behind the resolution is that the city should use the precautionary principle, which holds that if there is a possibility that a policy or plan will have potentially dangerous health or environmental impact—even if there is no scientific consensus—it is better to err on the side of caution. This resolution will put the burden of proof on companies proposing new developments and businesses within city limits to show that there is little chance that a local group will be negatively impacted.  Although the resolution is symbolic, it is a statement that the council will consider health impacts for any decisions they make—like new buildings or industrial and manufacturing developments—and will ask the organization proposing a new action to prove that it is unlikely to cause harm.

Sierra Club wants landmark climate law altered

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 05/20/2011 - 2:21pm

California's quest to create the world's first clean energy economy was again under fire this week when the Sierra Club urged Gov. Jerry Brown to drastically alter key elements of the much criticized climate protection law.

The state's largest environmental group urged the governor in a May 9 letter to re-evaluate and revise proposed "cap-and-trade" business incentives, particularly the rules that would allow companies to offset their pollution by purchasing credits from clean businesses outside the state and country.

"Curbing global warming will require a fundamental transformation of our energy economy, a task that cannot be outsourced to other countries," wrote Bill Magavern, the director of Sierra Club California. "If polluters are allowed to outsource their emission reductions to other sectors and jurisdictions, the clean-energy revolution will be delayed."


Metro's record-setting $4.2-billion budget heavy on L.A. rail projects

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 05/05/2011 - 10:54am

Los Angeles transportation officials have unveiled the largest budget in the Metropolitan Transit Authority's history, a $4.2-billion plan that reflects the agency's heavy investment in rail projects around the region.

The budget includes money for a slew of rail lines, including the Crenshaw Line in South L.A. that should begin construction next year. The budget has operating funds for the Expo Line, which should open later this year.

There is also money for developing several more rail lines including the so-called "Subway to the Sea" and the "Regional Connector," which would link several existing rail lines through downtown L.A.

“Metro will be advancing one of the largest public works programs in the nation’s history in [fiscal year] 2012, with a dozen major transit and 15 highway projects in various stages of development,” Metro Chief Executive Art Leahy said in a statement.


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