There are sane people in the California Legislature. They’re just outnumbered. One of my favorite of the outnumbered and sane set is Diane Harkey (R, of course, 73rd), who has a keen nose for regulatory insanity. She’s just introduced AB 206, a bill that would exempt municipal fireworks shows from the heavy hand of the California Coastal Commission (and the California Environmental Quality Act, to boot).
This is a subject near and dear to Crazifornia’s heart – and the subject of much of my upcoming book’s chapter on the Coastal Commission – due to the plight of the good people of the North Coast town of Gualala (pictured), whose Fourth of July fireworks show was blasted out of existence by the Coastal Commission. Here are some posts you can check out for more on the story:
From Cheat-Seeking Missiles: Coastal Commission Attempting to Ban Fourth of July Fireworks
From The Daily Caller: The Queen of the Coastal Star Chamber
The bill is not yet posted on California’s LegInfo site, but it should be soon, and I’ll update this with a link when it does. A fact sheet on the bill summarizes the issue as:
Broad interpretation of environmental regulation law has defined fireworks as “development” which has expanded regulators authority to require permits or licenses in order to display fireworks. This interpretation has applied particularly to coastal communities. These regulations threaten the ability of local municipalities along the coast to provide this public service to both their communities and the state.
In order for Californian’s to celebrate the great independence of this country and continue with traditions that previous generations have enjoyed, it is necessary that the ability of public entities to put on such firework displays is protected.
These shows are a cultural event that are enjoyed by many Californians and also provide an economic benefit for the municipalities that display them.
Assemblywoman Harkey also sent me a sample support letter. Please help her in this important effort (which faces a bleak future in the Dem-dominated legislature) by getting folks in your neck of the woods to support it. Here’s the sample letter:
Dear Assemblywoman Harkey,
On behalf of the (INSERT NAME OF YOUR ORGANIZATION) I am writing to express support for Assembly Bill 206, which will provide an exemption for municipal firework shows from the California Environment Quality Act and California Coastal Act.
In 2008, the Gualala Festivals Committee received a cease-and-desist order from the California Coastal Commission for discharging fireworks without first receiving a coastal development permit. The Coastal Commission determined fireworks caused an increase in nest abandonment.
This action was confirmed by a court, setting a dangerous precedent in which “development” was deemed to encompass the discharging of fireworks as described in the California Coastal Act because the displays deposited spent materials into coastal waters.
Fireworks shows are an inexpensive way for families and the community to celebrate the independence of this country. Previous generations in California have enjoyed these shows without burden of a government agency standing in the way of a long celebrated tradition.
In addition, these shows provide an economic benefit for the municipalities that display them. As a coastal community this issue is especially significant to the citizens of (INSERT NAME OF YOUR CITY OR ORGANIZATION).
Environmental protection is important, but a line should be drawn to ensure the preservation of long held traditions that provide enjoyment, foster patriotism and stimulate our coastal economies.
(INSERT NAME OR ORGANIZATION) stands in support with AB 206 for the above mentioned reasons.