California Budget Deal Puts Economy, Environment and Public Health at Greater Risk
Broken System Allowing a Few Legislators to Hold Up Budget Must Be Fixed
“A few leaders exploited the state’s financial crisis and supermajority requirement to reach a back-room deal that weakens environmental protections,” said
“Californians are at greater health risk today from pollution than they were just three months ago, when Republican legislative leaders and then the Governor presented environmental rollback proposals,” concluded Phillips. “Fortunately, Assembly Speaker Bass and Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg held the line against many of the demands. Otherwise, the public would face an even greater rollback in protections.”
The bill package adopted as part of the budget weaken a 2007 rule to cut air pollution from construction equipment, exempt 10 transportation projects from environmental review, and make it easier for the state to sell off property, including park service property, without going through environmental review.
Toxic pollutants from off-road vehicles — largely construction equipment — are responsible for 1,100 premature deaths in California each year, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The off-road rule — the first statewide rule in the nation to require construction companies to retrofit existing heavy equipment to reduce these toxic pollutants — is expected to prevent 4,000 premature deaths in California over the course of the regulation between 2009 and 2030, according to CARB.
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SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund