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California Governor Signs Anti-Sprawl Bill Into Law

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 375, the nation’s first law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by curbing sprawl. (Earlier post.)

This landmark bill takes California’s fight against global warming to a whole new level, and it creates a model that the rest of the country and world will use. When it comes to reducing greenhouse gases, California is first in tackling car emissions, first to tackle low-carbon fuels, and now with this landmark legislation, we are the first in the nation to tackle land-use planning. What this will mean is more environmentally-friendly communities, more sustainable developments, less time people spend in their cars, more alternative transportation options and neighborhoods we can safely and proudly pass on to future generations.

—Governor Schwarzenegger

SB 375 provides greenhouse gas emissions-reduction goals around which regions can plan—integrating disjointed planning activities and providing incentives for local governments and developers to follow new conscientiously-planned growth patterns.

SB 375 enhances the Air Resources Board’s (ARB) ability to reach our AB 32 goals by directing ARB to develop regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to be achieved from the automobile and light truck sectors for 2020 and 2035. ARB will also work with California’s 18 metropolitan planning organizations to align their regional transportation, housing and land-use plans and prepare a sustainable communities strategy to reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled in their respective regions and demonstrate the region’s ability to attain its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Spending less time on the road is the single-most powerful way for California to reduce its carbon footprint in the short term.

Additionally, SB 375 provides incentives for creating attractive, walkable and sustainable communities and revitalizing existing communities. The bill also allows home builders to get relief from certain environmental reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act if they build projects consistent with the new sustainable community strategies. It will also encourage the development of more alternative transportation options—e.g., biking and walking—which will promote healthy lifestyles and reduce traffic congestion.


"Additionally, SB 375 provides incentives for creating attractive, walkable and sustainable communities"

So now government provides subsidies for developers as well. Don't have to wait - change is here.


With some common sense coordination between businesses, developers and home owners, we could save lots of fuel and reduce imported oil. This "go it alone" the market will take care of everything is a reactive position. We have to wait until it gets so bad that we have no options and then it is too late.

Henry Gibson

What about smaller houses and even more efficient cars.

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