Kaid Benfield Archive


California governor signs landmark smart growth bill!

Kaid Benfield

Posted October 1, 2008 at 3:16PM

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In arguably the most important public policy development for smart growth this decade, California's governor Schwarzenegger has signed SB 375 (reported on by yours truly in July), a new law that will require land use planning to meet greenhouse-gas reduction goals.  Transportation and other public investments will be tied to the plans.

This is huge.  My NRDC colleagues Ann Notthoff, Amanda Eaken, Justin Horner, David Goldstein and others I probably don't know about worked hard for this legislation, as did many of their environmental colleagues in California.

From the governor's press release:

"Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Sweeping Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Land-Use


"Continuing California's environmental leadership in fighting global warming, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he has signed SB 375 by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), which builds on AB 32, California's first-in-the-nation law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by adding the nation's first law to control greenhouse gas emissions by curbing sprawl.

"'This landmark bill takes California's fight against global warming to a whole new level, and it creates a model that the rest of the country and world will use,' Governor Schwarzenegger said. 'When it comes to reducing greenhouse gases, California is first in tackling car emissions, first to tackle low-carbon fuels, and now with this landmark legislation, we are the first in the nation to tackle land-use planning. What this will mean is more environmentally-friendly communities, more sustainable developments, less time people spend in their cars, more alternative transportation options and neighborhoods we can safely and proudly pass on to future generations'

"In order to reach the greenhouse gas reduction goals set out in AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Californians need to rethink how we design our communities. SB 375 does this by providing emissions-reduction goals around which regions can plan-integrating disjointed planning activities and providing incentives for local governments and developers to follow new conscientiously-planned growth patterns . . ."

The full text of the bill is here.  A story in the SF Chronicle, which also reports on related legislation considered by the governor yesterday, is here.

This is big, and the law can set a great precedent for other states.  Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in it!