Gino DiCaro

Tribal Sites Protection Bill to be Heard July 28

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, July 25, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Senate Bill 18 (Burton – D, San Francisco), a measure to protect Native American sites, would grant the tribe-dominated Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) far-reaching power to stall or halt development projects in the state to. A hearing in Assembly Natural Resources will be held July 28.

In brief, the bill:

* Gives the Commission broad authority to determine if a site qualifies as a Traditional Tribal Cultural Site (TTCS). The Commission is not required to hear evidence from local governments, schools, and any developer when determining if a site should be a TTCS.
* Grants the Commission broad authority to determine impacts of development projects and feasibility of mitigation within a five mile radius of the TTCS.
* Extends the jurisdiction of the Commission to activities such as land acquisition, management plans and land management practices by either public agencies or private entities.

This NAHC’s authority could be used regardless of whether a specific project has complied with all other laws and requirements, such as CEQA. CEQA requires “governmental agencies at all levels to consider qualitative factors as well as economic and technical factors and long-term benefits and costs” when making land use decisions. SB 18 creates a new version of what would be considered with regard to historical resources – it would not include legal, social, economic, technological or other similar considerations.

SB 18 would add additional burdens to California’s economy and limit job creation at a time when our economy most needs a shot in the arm. Minor modifications to existing law would accomplish sacred sites protection without taking authority from local governments, businesses and residents and giving it to the NAHC. CMTA opposes SB 18.
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