The California Coastal Commission has long lobbied for the power to fine anyone who violates laws protecting beach habitat and public access — and this week they may just get it. Until now, the Commission has had to engage in costly and extended legal battles to penalize offenders. But California’s Senate is voting on a bill to give them fining power later this week. The bill’s backers argue that the Commission should have direct control over fining transgressors, but a coalition of businesses disagrees. The group says that its idea of violating the law differs from that of the Commission. We’ll dig into how to best balance conservation, public access, and business interests on California’s beaches.
Paul Rogers, managing editor of KQED Science; and environmental reporter for the San Jose Mercury News
Sarah Christie, Legislative Director, the California Coastal Commission
Jennifer Thompson, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation