Michael Rubio of Shafter was positioned to have a lot of influence in Sacramento this year as chairman of the Senate Environmental Committee, which will be key in reviewing proposals on how and whether to modify the landmark California Environmental Quality Act.
Rubio was an advocate of CEQA reform, especially for urban infill projects, and his position as a moderate Democrat suggested he was the ideal person to push for changes that would not gut the law but would reduce the ways it could be used to unfairly stall or kill good projects.
Last Wednesday, then state Sen. Michael Rubio of Shafter told The Bee’s editorial board that he soon would introduce legislation to reform the landmark California Environmental Quality Act.
Rubio, citing a bout with the flu, spoke via telephone instead of appearing in person with other CEQA reform supporters.
The first-term Democrat told of CEQA abuses that had stymied urban revitalization and green energy projects. He also defended his proposal to exempt projects from environmental review if they met standards established by other laws.
Ordinarily, the resignation of a state senator – particularly one not tinged with scandal – is of no more than passing interest. In fact, two senators had already resigned early this year to take their seats in Congress.
However, when Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, unexpectedly announced last Friday that he was leaving the Senate to become a governmental affairs executive for with Chevron Corp., it created a political stir.