July 18, 2011
By Howard Fine
“Local business groups have launched a campaign to reform one of the state’s major environmental laws because they believe it stifles development and slows job creation.
They want to reform the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires developers and government agencies to conduct environmental reviews for major projects and explicitly gives citizens
the right to file lawsuits over development.
The business groups – including the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Hollywood chambers of commerce, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and the Central City Association – say the law has resulted in such lengthy delays that developers are often forced to pull the plug on their projects.
“CEQA has become an instrument that people who oppose projects use on a regular basis,” said Gary Toebben, chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “The delays either force the developer to acquiesce and make payouts, driving up the cost of housing or commercial space, or to walk away from the project entirely.”
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