Heh: Environmentalist California governor seeks exemption from environmental regulations in order to speed construction of high speed rail project
**Written by Doug Powers
This is one of those “pass the popcorn” kind of stories: A Governor who never met an environmental regulation he didn’t like can’t get his pet project built unless he’s able to disable regulatory traps he’s spent his life helping to set.
From the Sacramento Bee:
The Brown administration, laboring to start building California’s high-speed rail project by early next year, is preparing a proposal to insulate the project from environmental lawsuits, limiting circumstances in which a court may block construction of the line.
The proposal, criticized by environmentalists as it emerged on Friday, would protect the $68 billion project from court-ordered injunctions that might otherwise be issued under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Except in the most serious cases of potential environmental harm, the proposed legislation would allow construction to proceed while the California High-Speed Rail Authority fixes any environmental flaws identified by a judge.
The state has previously protected major projects from environmental challenges. Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation last year accelerating judicial review of environmental challenges to a proposed football stadium in Los Angeles.
At the time, he said the project was necessary to “get people working” in California.
Proponents of the high-speed rail project have made the same argument about high-speed rail.
The project is a major part of Brown’s agenda, and the proposal to protect it from litigation could be significant to his ability to start construction in the Central Valley by next year.
How come waiving regulations to create jobs is only a priority when the government wants to built something? At least Brown is being forced to admit that government regs are job killers.
Ronald Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act into law in 1970 (it’s since been amended like crazy). Maybe The Gipper knew that someday it might save some serious money by protecting taxpayers from hypocritical “environmentalist” politicians and their boondoggles.
If Brown wants to waive regulations, let it be so the private sector can do some job creating.
**Written by Doug Powers
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