Commentary: Need for jobs doesn't mean environmental goals disappear

The following editorial appeared in the Sacramento Bee on Wed., Dec. 3

Whenever California builds freeway lanes, flood-control levees or other major construction projects, the public gets a chance to review the plans and suggest changes to minimize the environmental impact. Such input has paid off. It has resulted in replanted forests to compensate for trees lost when a levee is rebuilt or widened. Outside pressure has also prompted Caltrans to build stormwater basins to prevent highway runoff from damaging creeks or polluting beaches.

In an effort to speed up projects financed by state bond money, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is now proposing to streamline these environmental reviews. Agencies such as Caltrans would have to obtain environmental permits for highway or transit projects, but opportunities for the public or regulators to shape the final product would be severely truncated.

Read the full story at sacbee.com.