The Green Dream

…is a nightmare for California’s middle class:

Unfortunately, California environmentalists are trying to turn much of the Central Valley’s farmland back into desert too. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, federal courts have ordered farmers to divert hundreds of billions of gallons of water away from crops and into the Sacramento River, where it is supposed to help revive the delta smelt.

The diverted water has not helped the smelt much, but it has turned hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland fallow and sent unemployment in some farming communities as high as 40 percent.

California could solve this problem by building more dams, thus adding water capacity. But the state hasn’t built a major new dam since 1979 and none is on the drawing board.

One reason is the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970. Modeled after the federal National Environmental Policy Act, CEQA was intended to make infrastructure planning easier. As the accompanying chart shows, it is anything but an easy law to follow. Unlike most state environmental planning laws, CEQA allows plaintiffs to recover attorney’s fees from defendant infrastructure developers (whether they be state, city or private actors).

This has created an entire environmental lawsuit industry — a very profitable one that chills development. According to the California Chamber of Commerce, CEQA has become “a morass of uncertainty for project proponents and agencies alike.”

Local government smart-growth plans have made it next to impossible for developers to build single-family homes near job centers such as the Bay Area or Los Angeles. As a result, real estate prices along California’s coast are among the highest in the nation, forcing many middle-class families to downsize or move elsewhere.

But the moron voters keep reelecting these people.

19 thoughts on “The Green Dream

  1. Dennis Wingo

    Yea but I can tell you that multfamily dwellings are going up like mad here in the middle of the Valley.

    Which is what the environmentalists actually want.

    1. Larry J

      Yeah, to hell with what people may actually want. The Holy Annointed Ones will decide how people should live.

      1. Dennis Wingo

        These are the future slums from which the software companies will get their minions to labor for bread.

  2. Karl Hallowell

    One wonders how things will go when California starts looking like Detroit. I wonder if the mess can become a stable state of dysfunction – at least till a foreign power goes in and straightens things out to their own liking.

      1. Larry J

        Liberals are like locusts in that way, aren’t they? They successfully californicated Colorado and will continue to spread their disfunctional ideology until they’ve dragged the entire country to the same equalitarian low level.

  3. Ed Minchau

    Rand, what’s going on with the CSS for this site? Like Trent, half the time I’m seeing the mobile site here rather than the regular blog. This started about a week ago. I’m using firefox.

    1. McGehee

      After a while of it not happening to me, it’s just now happened again — and this time on the main page. I’m also using Firefox, on Windows 8.

      1. Larry J

        It has been happening to me from time to time as well on IE9. I’ve also noticed that I have to hit the refresh button a lot more than normal.

        This isn’t meant as complaining or nit-picking. I’m just curious why these things seem to be happening fairly often now when it didn’t happen before. The biggest problem for me happened a couple weeks ago when we had a thread on bad m0rtgages. The site’s spam filter kept blocking me and a lot of the comments kept disappearing. The other problems seemed to being about the same time.

      1. McGehee

        There’s a link at the bottom of the mobile pages to go back to the desktop site, but it lacks the domain URL. Somewhere that needs to be plugged into the system to make the link work properly — unless the theme has bad code that prevents the domain URL from propagating.

      2. ken anthony

        I’m using google chrome. It’s not always the main page. Sometimes it’s just a particular post. Also, one post went black on black which it is probably still. I could find it if you need.

    1. McGehee

      I use the WWW version of the URL on my blogroll and still sometimes get the wrong version — though you do say “less likely,” as opposed to “never.”

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