LandWatch works mainly at the local and regional level. That’s where most important land use policy issues are decided. Ultimately, however, all local governments within the state have to follow the requirements of state law. Sometimes, state legislation is the very best way to achieve good planning decisions, and LandWatch pays close attention. We’re an affiliate member of the California Futures Network, which works for good land use planning at the state level. We’re also a member of the Planning and Conservation League, which is one of California’s most effective environmental policy organizations. This section of our website highlights particularly important issues and actions at the state level.

These are some of the topics we’ve been following:

  • Coastal Commission Fires Executive Director
    In a 7-5 vote in early February 2016, the California Coastal Commissioners voted to fire the agency’s Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lester. It will be interesting to see if this decision will have any impact on Monterey County coastal projects or coastal permits. (2.10.16)
  • Fracking Regulation Bills May Help Monterey County
    Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the process of drilling and injecting water and chemicals into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release the natural gas inside. LandWatch has submitted letters of support on five bills focused on fracking regulation (05.23.13)
  • Two State Senators Try to Weaken the Public’s Ability to Participate in Land-Use Decisions
    State Senator Joe Simitian is co-author of SB 226 (Simitian and Vargas) which would amend Section 21177c of the Public Resources Code. This code pertains to an agency’s requirement to respond to the public’s comments on CEQA documents. This revised section provides 1) that the agency need not consider comments and data submitted after the public comment period for the draft EIR (with certain exceptions) and 2) that that the “untimely” comments, data, and issues cannot be used in a lawsuit. SB 226 would significantly change the public right to participate in the CEQA process. Another issue is that SB 226 includes a number of unrelated changes to CEQA with no overarching cohesion or purpose. Because of this, LandWatch on August 29th submitted a letter opposing the bill saying, “we strongly oppose amendments to Section 21177c and urge that they be deleted from SB 226.” Randy Pestor from the offices of the CA Senate told LandWatch on August 31st that the section in SB 226 that contains the amendments to CEQA and Public Resources Code Section 21177 is stricken from the bill. (08.29.11)
  • LandWatch and Agriculture Interests Stood Together to Support Williamson Act Funding
    On Tuesday, October 27th LandWatch, the Cattleman’s Association, the Ventana Wildlife Society, the Farm Bureau, and the Salinas Valley Agriculture Land Trust stood together with Supervisors Lou Calcagno, Jane Parker, and Simon Salinas to urge Governor Schwarzenegger to reinstate funding for Williamson Act contracts. (11.02.09)
  • Support for AB 406 Will Strengthen CEQA
    A local Assembly Member will cast a key vote on AB 406. If this bill passes, it will significantly strengthen California’s most important environmental protection law. (06.02.03)
  • Local Government Commission Indicates Concerns About State Budget Proposals
    The Local Government Commission is a statewide alliance of local elected officials, including members of City Councils and Boards of Supervisors from throughout California. This analysis by the LGC Executive Director indicates some potential problems with the Governor’s Proposed Budget for 2003. (01.24.03)
  • Historic State Planning Legislation Just Enacted
    AB 857 establishes state planning priorities that will help stop future urban sprawl, and that will direct new growth to existing urban areas. Governor Gray Davis will now decide whether this historic legislation becomes law. (08.30.02)

State Planning
Issues & Actions