In the news media, EHL defended bedrock environmental laws – CEQA and California’s landmark global warming law – from attacks.
Under the dubious rationale of job creation, Governor Schwarzenegger and a group of lawmakers in Sacramento are trying to exempt up to 100 construction projects around the state between now and 2014 from court review of their CEQA compliance. In the Californian and North County Times newspapers’ coverage of this issue (“State jobs bill targets project delays,” March 1, 2010), EHL pointed to the underlying agenda and the potential for politicalization of the process:
"What they are trying to do is use the economic situation to do what they really want to do, which is to gut (the California Environmental Quality Act)," said Dan Silver, executive director for the Endangered Habitats League in Los Angeles.
"There are probably 10,000 ways to create jobs," Silver said. "Their real agenda is to lower environmental protections."
Silver, who monitors projects in Riverside and San Diego counties, said the result could be an easier road to approval for the controversial ones.
"Example 1 is the [Liberty] quarry," he said. "It's a typical project that could be put on a political list, and that could be shoved down the throats of Temecula."
In a similar vein, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to delay implementation of AB 32, California’s law to combat climate change, and SB 375, to address the contribution of transportation to global warming. The Californian and North County Times (“County wants global warming laws put on hold,” March 3, 2010) presented the conservation view that the down economy is not a good reason for postponing the laws:
"We would respectfully take a different point of view on the issue," said Dan Silver, executive director for the Endangered Habitats League in Los Angeles and a close monitor of area development projects.
Silver said by phone later Tuesday that he does not believe the laws will take jobs away from the county, but, instead, will help the local economy.
"This is an opportunity to make California, and Riverside County in particular, leaders in the clean energy economy, which is the future," he said.