California's Land Fight

Back in 2004 it seemed like a Jerry Brown / Arnold Schwarzenegger regime in California would be an odd pairing. But why? Both are intelligent, pragmatic yet outspoken politicians. Both are lampooned; the Moonbeam, the Terminator.

Now Moonbeam and the Terminator are California’s Governor and Attorney General, not in that order. And this week, in any case, they are both fundamentally wrong on environmental policy. Bravo to any politician in Sacramento who won’t pass a budget in a year when the State is going to sue and prosecute land owners at a whole higher level.

Already favored with nonprofit status, tax-deductible contributions, and settlement payoffs, environmentalist financial interests are now beginning to get reconveyance fees. And adding to this power, our Attorney General now enacts a law to require environmental impact reports, “EIR reports,” to include global warming impact.

This law will encourage additional civil suits on landowners who just want their land to have homes built all over it and as they choose, maybe even on big lots. Every scrap of ground will become even more contested between developers and environmentalists. Only the most powerful will survive. Growth will be forced into tiny land allocations of ultra high density housing. Low density suburbs inside the infill wall will be destroyed – their lifestyle exterminated – with innoculations of ultra-high density compounds. These “smart growth” ideologues and opportunists, whichever, are facilitating the increase in California’s population to sixty million people in 20 years. Perhaps there are other options.

To estimate global warming impact in an “EIR,” even if you believe in all the current precepts of global warming law – based on science – is still impossibly subjective. Perhaps high density urbanization causes congestion, because the reality of too few roads crushes utopian fantasies that people will stop buying SCG (“smart, clean, green”) cars and using them. A low density urbanized landscape would permit wildlife and surface vegetation to thrive on the private land – costing taxpayers nothing, delivering everything. Roads would not be congested. In-turn, this land use would be cooler and less water intensive than, say, biofuel plantations, and would significantly lower overall regional surface temperatures.

In an ultra-high density urban model, there are no trees. In the Sacramento “urban services” area, for example, people now live in high density residential housing, up to 10,000 per square mile. From any practical perspective of landscaping today, high density housing permits no trees on private lots, and it gets hot inside these compounds. The farmland outside the urban service walls is also hot. This is “smart growth,” and it makes regional surface temperatures hot as hell. For the sake of the environment, we need to loosen the rules on land use, not tighten them.

So go ahead and launch your global warming impact EIR requirement, Sacramento. But unless it is turned on its head, this law will only feed consultants and lawyers, as bulldozers stay close to the compounds, and our freedoms wither in a hotter sun.

2 Responses to “California's Land Fight”
  1. Ralph Ward says:

    Just what I would expect from people whose only home page advertiser is GM and whose linked forum on global warming is run by Chevron. Not only are you against real environmental reform, but advocate bringing the state of California to a screeching halt for months to achieve your goals.

  2. Ed Ring says:

    Ralph: You have made no attempt to respond to the arguments, only suggested we have ulterior motives. What you might consider is that so called “smart growth” only makes the rich richer. That is the point. We like open space. Private open space. It’s more efficient. And low density land development is cooler, not warmer. As for our link to Chevron, that was through Google AdSense. We choose not to filter any ads they may send in.


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