Sac Bee Editorial -- California is right not to let Trump wreck the environment

March 1, 2017

Clean air and water ought to be nonpartisan issues. Liberal or conservative, rich or poor, no living creature should have to worry that life’s essentials are unsafe.

Yet, disappointingly, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans seem bent on dismantling environmental protections, using jobs as a pretext. It’s a deeply misguided ideological stance with real public health implications.

Californians can, and should, push back.

Southern California lawmakers have introduced a smart package of bills designed to inoculate the state against this weakening of federal environmental standards.

Senate Bill 49 by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Henry Stern, D-Agoura Hills, would lock in current federal standards as the state’s baseline on air, climate, water and other issues, even if the federal government lowers them later.

SB 50, by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, would strengthen the state’s say in the sale of federal land here to private developers who want to drill or mine it.

And SB 51 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, would protect federal whistleblowers here, and preserve environmental and public health data, even if federal authorities order them censored.

The Legislature should pass them, swiftly, and state water authorities should implement policy under existing law to better protect seasonal streams and temporary wetlands. And California Republicans should step up. After all, it was one of their own – President Richard Nixon – who created the EPA.

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