Environmentalism

CA Governor Sees Little Hope of Easing Environmental Red Tape

Even Jerry Brown sees the regulations as economically crippling

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SACRAMENTO — As Gov. Jerry Brown toured China over the last week, he repeatedly contrasted that nation's speedy construction of modern transportation systems and other key public works with what he characterized as a lack of vision back home.

A pillar of his plan to let the "bulldozers roll" on big projects in California has been an overhaul of the state's landmark environmental law, which can tangle development in litigation for years.

Yet before he even boarded his return flight, the governor said he was giving up on any substantial revision this year of the 40-year-old law, which he says stands in the way of progress.

The appetite for such change "is bigger outside the state Capitol than it is inside," Brown said as he sipped tea in the southern port city of Shenzhen on his last full day of events abroad. "This is not something you get done in a year. There are very powerful forces that are strong in the [Democratic] Party that will resist."