Environmental Setback for California as Governor Gavin Newsom Vetoes AB 1086

Monday, October 14, 2019

AB 1086 would have authorized the sale of the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area near Livermore, creating the pathway for ecological preservation

(Sacramento, CA) – In a frustrating setback for local environmental preservationists and land stewards, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed one of the Sierra Club of California’s priority bills, Assembly Bill 1086 by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. 

“I am extremely disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto AB 1086,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. "This bill was crafted to be permissive, not require the sale. We have a responsibility as elected officials to protect the best interests of our constituents, our environment, and our state as a whole.” Bauer-Kahan stated. “We have seen a huge decline in use of the current off-highway vehicle park, and after 20 years of litigation and non-use of the expansion area, there proves to be no need to see this land decimated. I’m disappointed that despite that part of the California Parks and Recreation Department’s stated mission ‘to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources’ that this critical piece of legislation was vetoed. Instead we will continue to see money wasted with state resources drained into endless litigation, and this biological treasure left open to future abuse. I assure you that this won’t be the end of our fight to preserve this land,” Bauer-Kahan concluded.

Coauthored by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), AB 1086 additionally would have directed the funds for any potential sale of the land be deposited back into the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund for future use at more appropriate off-road sites.

“The governor missed an opportunity to help solve a long-festering problem. The Tesla area has been closed for decades because it is not suitable for off-highway use and has been embroiled in legal and other challenges.” said Kathryn Phillips, Director of the Sierra Club California. “At a time when Californians are asking for more places close by where they can hike and enjoy nature away from the sounds of motorized vehicles, it’s hard to understand why the governor has vetoed this bill.”