In the wee hours of the night, at the end of the last
legislative session, language was added into a bill to push forward
reforms to California’s 40-year old environmental policy, the
California Environmental Quality Act.
The reforms were sponsored by the CEQA Working Group, a
business-labor-government coalition. Intended to reduce frivolous
environmental litigation and duplicative government oversight, the
reforms ended up being part of a smoggy deal.
Before anyone could stop them, the Democratic leadership swooped
in on the bill and changed it.
Because of California’s stringent environmental laws and
project-killing local planning requirements, nearly all public and
private projects in the state are legally challenged under CEQA,
even when a project meets all other environmental standards of
SB 317, co-authored by Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, a
gut-and-amend bill, would not have actually changed CEQA, but
instead would have introduced a companion law to dictate how CEQA
is enforced. The new legislation would have restricted certain
types of lawsuits, and would have exempted some projects from
CEQA… Read More