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Select Committee on Permitting Reform Kicks Off with Inaugural Hearing

For immediate release:
  • Erin Ivie
  • Director of Communications, Office of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
  • 510-619-8495
  • erin.ivie@asm.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Select Committee on Permitting Reform, chaired by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), today convened its inaugural hearing, advancing a bipartisan initiative to modernize California’s permitting system.

“There is a cost of inaction that we see in our communities every day,” said Assemblymember Wicks. “We are facing multiple, interrelated crises –  if we want to actually address the housing crisis, reach our climate goals and guard against some of the climate catastrophes we know are coming, we have to change how we think about building. We have to get to yes, and we have to do so in a way that reflects our California values.”

The Committee is taking an inclusive, equitable and evidence-based approach to address systemic issues within the state’s permitting processes. Discussions at the initial hearing focused on identifying challenges within the current regulatory landscape.

California’s leaders have established a “culture of regulation that emphasizes the need to be extra careful and extra perfect, but this takes an incredible amount of time,” testified Steve Bohlen of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “We need industry to be able to function in an environmentally sound way, but they face constant roadblocks by state agencies who go slow because they want to get it just right … We’re moving into a period of rapid change and so perfect can’t be the enemy of the good, it just can’t be; it forecloses opportunities we may need in the future.”

The public hearing also featured testimony from practitioners, state and local officials, and subject matter experts, including leaders from Denmark’s Environmental Protection Agency; California Natural Resources Agency; California Department of Housing and Community Development; University of California, Irvine; Stanford University; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Rural County Representatives of California.

“We are very focused on improving our processes in a way that preserves our values but allows us to move at the speed necessary to confront our growing challenges,” testified Christopher Calfee of the California Natural Resources Agency.

The Committee, in collaboration with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, is studying permitting impacts on housing, climate resilience, including water and wildfire, and clean energy in the state. The study will include the effects of permitting on achieving state goals, the costs and risks of inaction, and equity and accessibility for all Californians. 

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About Assemblymember Buffy Wicks

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, El Sobrante, Hercules, Rodeo, Kensington, and Piedmont. You can learn more about Assemblymember Wicks at http://a14.asmdc.org.

About the Select Committee on Permitting Reform

The Select Committee on Permitting Reform is dedicated to addressing and resolving California’s systemic permitting issues. By fostering bipartisan collaboration and engaging diverse stakeholders, the Committee aims to streamline regulatory frameworks to support the state's goals in housing, clean energy and climate resilience. Through these efforts, the Committee seeks to create a more efficient and equitable system that facilitates the development of critical projects while preserving the health of our environment and the wellbeing of California's residents.