Congratulations to my friend and colleague Linda Escalante, NRDC's Southern California Legislative Director, for being appointed to the California Coastal Commission by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Linda has been standing up for clean water, clean air and environmental justice for over a decade. As an alternate Commissioner, appointed by former CA Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, for the past year, she has been a standout bridge builder and has a clear vision of the next era of coastal protection.
Californians sure got it right when they voted to keep the coast open to all by overwhelmingly passing Prop 20, the Coastal Initiative, in 1972. Four years later, when the State Legislature passed and Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Coastal Act of 1976, protection of the natural resources, public access and resource dependent economy of our 1,100-mile long coast became the law of the land. And it has made a big difference. California’s coast is everyone’s coast, whether you live near it, or not.
Close to 50 years after a rag tag band of coastal warriors set out to curb rampant coastal development, California has a sophisticated and effective, multilayered coast and ocean protection program that is the envy of the world. With a staff of dedicated experts and commissioners who reflect all Californians, the Coastal Commission of 2019 is taking on the management challenges of climate change, rising seas, competition for resources and more with a moral guidepost of ensuring that California embeds justice in all natural resource decisions. With savvy commissioners like Linda Escalante, who I’ve been proud to call my colleague for over a decade, we’re in very good hands, ready for whatever the 21st century throws at us.