In Case You Missed It: Riverside Press Enterprise and Orange County Register Editorial: “CEQA used as legal ‘greenmail’” 7/6/15

The Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise today editorialized against CEQA exemptions given by the CA Legislature in this year’s state budget to politically connected projects.

The editorials say:  “If the law is not good enough for professional sports teams and politically connected developers, then it is not good enough for anyone else.”

The CEQA Working Group believes CEQA needs to be updated to stamp out abuses. It has become an annual ritual for politically connected projects to be granted legislatively sanctioned CEQA exemptions. CEQA needs reform to prevent the law from being abused for non-environmental reasons. The law should work for everyone and reforms to CEQA should benefit all projects, not just those with political connections.  

Read the full editorial,CEQA used as legal ‘greenmail” Below are key excerpts:

  • “California has earned a notorious reputation for fickle policymaking and unequal application of the law, from targeted tax breaks for politically favored industries such as green energy and Hollywood to special exemptions from major regulations like the California Environmental Quality Act.”
  • “…not all laws are applied equally, and special interests have used CEQA to serve their interests, which oftentimes have nothing to do with the environment.”
  • “Unions have often held projects hostage through CEQA lawsuits to demand concessions… thus driving up construction costs even more.”
  • “Businesses have used the law to keep out potential competitors, and local governments and neighborhood groups have used the law as leverage to compel developers to build additional facilities or features on their wish lists.”
  • “CEQA might have been implemented with noble intentions, but capricious application of the law is no rule of law at all.”

About the CEQA Working Group: The CEQA Working Group is a broad coalition of local government, affordable housing, business, agriculture, education and other organizations advocating for moderate reforms to CEQA that will preserve its original intent – environmental protection and public disclosure – while eliminating some of the misuses of CEQA that hurt job creation, community renewal and our environment.

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