To the surprise of many observers, the state Assembly Appropriations Committee didn't vote last week on a bill that would allow the sold. Lawmakers left Senate Bill 767 to be considered when the legislature reconvenes in January.
The expansion area is known as Tesla for the historic nearby town that once thrived close to a rich coal deposit.
The state-operated Carnegie off-road vehicle park has been in operation since 1979. The California Department of Parks and Recreation started running it after the state purchased private land off-roaders had been using for years.
The proposed expansion of Carnegie into the large, rugged Tesla site next to it has been controversial. It brought environmental lawsuits, as well as political opposition.
Off-road vehicle enthusiasts who want more places to ride support the expansion. They have often argued that Tesla is “their property,” pointing out their off-road vehicle fees helped the state purchase the land.
Conservationists who want to protect vulnerable wildlife, beautiful natural terrain and historic cultural sites against the ravages of spinning tires and oil leaks, as well as noise, smoke and air pollution, oppose the expansion.
SB 767 is intended to make it possible for the state to sell Tesla for conservation purposes in the public interest. The legislation was introduced by state Sen. Steve Glazer and co-authored by Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, both Democrats from Orinda.