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One of three curbs on environmental review goes to Gov. Jerry Brown

August 27, 2012 | 10:23 am

Two proposals for sweeping changes to California's environmental-protection laws stalled in the Legislature last week, but a third measure, much more narrowly crafted, was approved and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown

Two proposals for sweeping changes to California's environmental-protection laws stalled in the Legislature last week, but a third measure, much more narrowly crafted, was approved and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Lawmakers approved AB 2245, which would exempt hundreds of miles of proposed bikeways from the California Environmental Quality Act.

The bill was introduced to help the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which plans to add 832 miles of new bike lanes in the coming years and would benefit from streamlining the environmental-review process.

The exemption from CEQA approved by the Legislature applies to bike lane projects that involve restriping existing streets.

Unlike the other CEQA bills that failed to gain traction, the bikeway bill did not have strong opposition from environmental groups. Its author said it will improve the environment.

"As gas prices continue to escalate and we ramp up efforts to curb emissions, it is incumbent upon the state to encourage the development of more bike-able communities," said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita), who introduced the bill.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: A bicyclist rides on the sidewalk despite the bike lane on 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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