|The Dangers of Preemptive Legislation: The Case of LNG Facility Siting in California
|Year of Publication
|Susskind, L, Cassella, S
|Environmental Impact Assessment Review
In 1977, when the accumulation of well-intentioned regulations made it difficult to site a liquified natural gas (LNG) facility in California, the legislature, with the full support of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., passed a law, Senate Bill 1081 (Chapter 855, Statutes of 1977), that said, in effect, "not withstanding any previously enacted legislation or regulatory requirements, California will designate an LNG terminal site within a year." The state's attempt to preempt local regulatory authority, to say nothing of the legislature's willingness to circumvent its own facility siting, coastal protection, and environmental impact assessment laws, seems to leave failed. This case study describes the circumstances leading up to the enactment of S.B. 1081 and analyzes tile dangers associated with preemptive legislation. Had California confronted the real weaknesses in its energy facility siting process, the state could have identified positive steps that" would have accelerated site ~selection without triggering the staunch opposition that now threatens indefinite delay.