“There’s a Last Minute Rush to Completely Overhaul California’s Big Environmental-Development Law”

August 23, 2012

By: Adrian Glick Kudler

“The state legislative season is nearly over (it ends August 31), but a “business-labor-government coalition” is trying to squeeze in one last thing: a major overhaul of theCalifornia Environmental Quality Act, which currently covers pretty much anything major that might be built in the state (parks, buildings, rail lines, you name it). The Sacramento Bee reports now that the CEQA Working Group has come up with a “four-point proposal, aimed at reducing frivolous litigation and duplication of government oversight of projects,” which they’ve added to SB 317, a bill that formerly dealt with fisheries management on the Kings River (that stuff has been stripped out–is this ironic?). Here’s what it’d do: “Rather than change CEQA itself, it would enact a new law, the Sustainable Environmental Protection Act, that changes how it’s to be enforced, including integrating its provisions with other planning and protection laws, and placing restrictions on CEQA lawsuits that don’t specifically address environmental matters.” The San Francisco Chronicle adds that “Under the proposal, projects that meet the requirements of an existing land-use plan – which has met CEQA mandates – would be exempt from going through the law’s rigorous environmental review process.”

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