Monday, February 4, 2013

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will receive reform

The Sacramento Bee/Dan Walters, 2/3/13.  "Dan Walters:  An overhaul to CEQA looms large.

Cut needless delays, and frivolous law suits
"It's been 42 years since then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, an early victory for the nascent environmental protection movement that has since become a very powerful force in state and national politics. ....  However, it appears that Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature's Democratic leadership are poised to revise CEQA in some manner, responding to complaints that it has become an impediment to California's recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

"CEQA Blob stop project"
It's setting the stage for a potential battle with environmentalists who look upon CEQA as an iconic, almost religious, touchstone.  A hint of that came this year when Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, introduced a CEQA overhaul.  While it stalled due to pressure from environmentalists, it indicated an appetite among Democrats for change and led to declarations from Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg that CEQA reform would sit atop their legislative agendas.
Stuck, move me through regulations

Brown, as is his wont, offered a pithy description of CEQA, once calling it "the blob." While campaigning last fall for his tax-increase measure, Proposition 30, Brown responded to a questioner that he considered CEQA reform to be "very important."  "There are many people who work very well under CEQA and don't want to change it," Brown said during the exchange in Los Angeles, "And yet, changes are needed."
Read article. 

Related articles San Francisco Chronicle, 2/2/12, "CEQA overhaul fight begins."  "The effort has the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown, who said in his State of the State speech last month that California leaders "need to rethink and streamline our regulatory procedures, particularly the California Environmental Quality Act. Our approach needs to be based more on consistent standards that provide greater certainty and cut needless delays."

Capitol Altert, 8/22/12. "CEQA overhaul amended into Senate bill." Democratic legislators appear to be deeply divided on changing CEQA while Republicans have been demanding it for years, echoing complaints from business that it makes construction of much-needed public and private projects too difficult and discourages investment.. The CEQA Working Group's four-point proposal, aimed at reducing frivolous litigation and duplication of government oversight of projects, has been placed in Senate Bill 317, a measure by Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, that has been languishing in the Assembly's inactive floor file after clearning the Senate and Assembly committees."

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 Posted by Kathy Meeh

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