It was a sunny weekend for environmentalists in California, where Gov. Gray Davis (D) signed into law a measure closing a loophole that developers have exploited to avoid development restrictions and jack up property values. The loophole enabled developers to subdivide properties based on out-of-date land maps. Conservationists often wound up paying inflated prices to purchase and protect pristine, mainly coastal, lands, out of fear that the properties would otherwise be converted into housing developments. Davis also vetoed a “rigs-to-reef” bill that would have allowed oil companies to leave old drilling platforms in the ocean, and signed a bond measure that will provide money for beach and park restoration, land preservation, and diesel-fume reductions if voters approve it next spring. And he gave a green thumbs-up to legislation promoting solar energy use in new homes.
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