Lack of Comprehensive CEQA Reforms Results in another Round of Legislative Exemptions for Special Projects
A story in today’s Los Angeles Times, “Development deals tied to state budget sidestep ‘green’ rules,” highlights what unfortunately has become an annual tradition in Sacramento: favored projects getting special legislation to exempt them from certain CEQA rules.
Hasan Ikhrata, executive director, Southern California Association of Governments (and CEQA Working Group member) put it best: “It’s not fair, simply because if you have resources and money, you can get things done. You can get people to lobby for you…. CEQA should be for everyone.”
The CEQA Working Group has long maintained that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California’s premiere environmental law, needs updating. Too often the law is abused for non-environmental reasons by NIMBY’s and others, and their abuses jeopardize much-needed projects. The law should apply equally to all projects, even smaller projects like infill, low-income housing, senior housing and transit projects, not just those who have backers with enough money to hire lobbyists.
It’s time for the legislature to modernize CEQA and even the playing field instead of giving exemptions to special projects.
Read the full article, “Development deals tied to state budget sidestep ‘green’ rules”
Below are key excerpts,
- “After returning to the governor’s office, [Jerry Brown] vowed to ease California’s landmark environmental restrictions, saying it would be ‘the Lord’s work.’”
- “… Brown and Democratic lawmakers have instead struck deals giving special consideration to certain projects rather than confront the political difficulties of overhauling the law.”
- “‘The administration continues to support comprehensive CEQA reform, but in the meantime we are not going to pass up opportunities to achieve targeted reforms, like getting key water projects done in the face of California’s drought crisis,’ Westrup said in a statement Thursday.”
- “‘Picking and choosing favorite projects is not good policy,’ said Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Nicolaus)”
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. www.ceqaworkinggroup.com
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