The Coast Is Murky
The California Coastal Commission has been declared unconstitutional by an appellate court, a decision that could result in a significant power shake-up at the entity in charge of managing one of the world’s most popular and politically charged coastlines. At issue is the balance of power on the commission: A majority (eight of 12) of its members are appointed by the state legislature, but the commission operates under the auspices of the executive branch, an arrangement the court said violated California’s separation-of-powers doctrine. The state has 30 days to fix the problem or the commission, which is charged with handling issues ranging from offshore oil drilling to coastal development, will be dismantled. The California attorney general has asked the court to reconsider the ruling because it could undermine efforts to protect the coast.