January 18, 2012
By Ethan Elkind
“Whenever proposals come along to exempt or streamline environmental review for certain projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), CEQA defenders fear the slippery slope. Even if the target projects are environmentally benign, the concern is that once the CEQA armor has been pierced, special interests will be able to exploit the opening to secure favorable treatment for their bad projects. Eventually, the exceptions could swallow the law, and the whole system of environmental protections would collapse. To some extent, Eric described these concerns in a recent post.
But what if a little bit of slippery slope leads to some good environmental outcomes? Case in point: Assemblyman Mike Feuer’s newly introduced legislation AB 1444, which expands the circle of eligibility for the CEQA streamlining provisions of AB 900 to public rail transit projects. (AB 900, as you may recall, created a special club for certain $100 million projects, subject to the Governor’s review, to be eligible for fast-track approval process at the state Court of Appeal for any CEQA challenges.)”
To continue reading, go here: http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/the-ceqa-streamlining-slippery-slope-may-help-rail-transit/.