On September 30, 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed S.B. 375, which provides a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through strategic land use and development. The bill directs the State Air Resources Board (ARB) to set regional caps for automobile and light truck emissions that would help the state achieve its greenhouse emissions cap of 1990 levels by 2020 originally set in A.B. 32. The bill also sets forth a “Sustainable Communities Strategy,” which directs metropolitan planning organizations, in conjunction with the ARB, to examine land-use patterns and create long-term housing and transportation plans that can be used to achieve the regional caps.
The bill also provides incentives for initiatives under the Sustainable Communities Strategy. Projects in high-density areas with easy access to public transportation will be exempt from certain administrative requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act and will get priority transportation funding. Similarly, traffic mitigation initiatives will not be required to file certain traffic impact reports. Streamlining these processes is expected to encourage adherence to the Sustainable Communities Strategy.
Governor Schwarzenegger also signed several other pieces of environmental legislation, including S.B. 732, which implements new programs to manage the water supply and promote water conservation and establishes the Strategic Growth Council to coordinate state agencies to, among other things, meet the goals of A.B. 32; A.B. 3018, which focuses on fostering jobs associated with clean technologies; and several bills promoting renewable energy.
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