With California Republicans conceding in their attempt to block the state budget over greenhouse gas emissions strategies (guess I was a couple weeks off on my prediction for that) and San Bernardino County settling in the suit brought against it by Attorney General Jerry Brown over the same, it looks like the bulk of local land use authority has now been transfered to the state. California state lawmakers already have substantial control over local planning for affordable housing, water resources, coastal development, and other general plan elements–control over land use with respect to greenhouse gas emissions should cover just about everything else. At least the settlement between Brown and San Bernardino was honest about one thing. The agreement mandates that the county inventory “all known, or reasonably discoverable, sources of Greenhouse Gases that currently exist in the County,” but then goes on to state (four times, actually) that “The Parties recognize and agree that definitive data sources do not exist for creating this inventory.” It is a good thing the county saved the expense of having to defend itself in a drawn-out lawsuit, since funding greenhouse gas guestimates from non-existent data sets can get pricey. Evidently, in this new arrangement, Jerry Brown will be the new planning commissioner for San Bernardino County and the local planning commission will take over the job of the California Air Resources Board.
Skaidra Smith-Heisters is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.