September 18, 2011
By Dakota Smith
“When distressed neighbors learned the city of Los Angeles was planning a trucking academy at the old Lopez Canyon landfill site, it wasn’t a City Council change of heart or a petition drive that rescued them from the feared influx of noisy, diesel-spewing big rigs.
It was CEQA.
The California Environmental Quality Act – which requires big developments to go through extensive studies to lessen community impacts – has played the role of both savior and villain for a host of projects up and down the state since it was enacted in 1970.
For residents of Kagel Canyon near the landfill, the law underpinned their lawsuit challenging the city’s studies – or lack thereof – on the project’s neighborhood impacts. Among their concerns: What paths would the student drivers take as they practiced turns and backups? And how would the city lessen the impacts of semitrailer trucks rumbling through residential streets?
Eventually a judge ruled Los Angeles violated CEQA by failing to study the project’s impacts and city officials declined to appeal.”
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