SACRAMENTO – In an editorial today, the Los Angeles Times advocated in favor of thoughtful reforms of CEQA that strike a balance between preserving environmental protections and curbing misuses of the law. Excerpts from the editorial are below. The full editorial can be read here. The Times joins a growing chorus of newspapers throughout California that have editorialized in favor of meaningful CEQA reform.
Los Angeles Times, Editorial, May 20, 2013, “Alter CEQA but don’t weaken it”
- “Over the years, the law has successfully compelled many builders to improve their proposals, but it also has been used at times as a tool to stop development by opponents whose objectives have nothing to do with protecting the environment.
- “Perhaps the poster child for what riles CEQA’s critics is a gas station in San Jose whose owner won city approval to add a couple of pumps. A CEQA lawsuit brought by a competing gas station at the same intersection claimed that the extra pumps would create too much traffic – and held up the modest expansion for years.”
- “Critics also point to what they call not-in-my-backyard lawsuits brought under CEQA to kill construction of housing for low-income senior citizens on a dilapidated corner in Berkeley, to keep a school from being renovated in El Cerrito and, last year, to keep the so-called subway to the sea from tunneling along its most logical route under Beverly Hills High School. Competitors have filed CEQA lawsuits to stop businesses from opening or expanding, and unions have filed suits on supposedly environmental grounds, only to withdraw them as soon as a labor agreement is reached with the developer.”
- “Reforming the law, then, requires striking a delicate balance between preserving its protections and curbing its unnecessary job-killing costs and delays.”
- “A bill (SB 731) that goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday might not resolve all the valid complaints about the law, but it moves the state in the right direction.”