December 05, 2009

Park Protection Bills Vetoed

The fall 2009 issue of the Parklands magazine, a publication of the California State Parks Foundation, reported that park protection bills SB 679 and SB 372 have been vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. These bills would have put safeguards in place to protect state parks from inappropriate, non-park use development.

Without concern for the wishes of the citizens of California or the damage it will cause to our state parks Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed Senate Bill 372 (Kehoe) and Senate Bill 679 (Wolk) after both bills passed in the State Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support.

Senate Bill 679 would have required requests to dispose of or change the use of state park land be accompanied by substitute property. Governor Schwarzenegger said “This bill is duplicative of existing statute and significantly reduces the state's ability to effectively manage the State Park system.” He went on to say “In times of fiscal crisis, we must be able to balance the costs and benefits of our park system with the costs and benefits of other important government programs. This proposal would limit our ability to do so.”

Senate Bill 372 would have required legislative approval before major projects can be built in state parks. The bill was designed to mirror the current federal process that requires an act of congress to remove federal park land from the park system. Governor Schwarzenegger said “this proposal is an inappropriate delegation of Executive branch authority over the state park system to the Legislative branch and I cannot support it.”

The California League of Conservation Voters said “the Governor took a big step back from his environmental pledges and turned in the worst performance of his tenure.”

Traci Verardo-Torres, Vice President, Government Affairs for the California State parks Foundation wrote “Given this governor’s actions on state parks, it’s clear that state parks will be on the losing side of his equation.”

Stephen Hill, Sr.