Does CEQA Reform Leverage the Environment for Jobs?

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into a law two CEQA reform bills that will expedite the court review process for some job-creating projects. Joel R. Reynolds editorializes on the move's risk to the basic principles of CEQA.

"While job creation is a goal everyone supports, the well-worn juxtaposition of jobs vs. the environment is a hollow refrain. Just two years ago, for example, Majestic Realty Co. promised thousands of new jobs if its stadium project in the City of Industry were exempted from CEQA challenge. The Legislature complied, but the jobs are nowhere to be seen.

In fact, no compelling case has ever been made that California's environmental standards cost more jobs than they attract."

Full Story: Viewpoints: Handle CEQA with care; it safeguards state environment



Irvin Dawid's picture

Excellent op-ed on CEQA reform legislation

Here's the link to Joel R. Reynolds 'viewpoint' urging a cautionary approach to reforming California's four-decade old environmental protection law, the California Environmental Quality Act, more commonly referred to by its acronym, CEQA.

What makes it important is that the author is "with the Natural Resources Defense Council and director of its Southern California program. He helped negotiate the agreement leading to Senate Bill 292", the bill that NRDC supported but other environmental organizations opposed that exempted the proposed AEG stadium in downtown LA from the same law he writes about.

OK, let me correct that - 'exempt' is my shorthand way of writing what the bill in effect does. What the bill actually does, per Joel:
"The bills amend CEQA to expedite court review of legal challenges to "environmental leadership projects" that commit to meet certain loosely defined environmental standards and create a significant number of jobs. Under SB 292, one of the expedited projects is the proposed Farmers Field stadium in downtown Los Angeles."

(Thanks, Joel, I will now replace 'exempt' with 'expedite').

In any case, the bill was most controversial within the enviro community, and I salute Joel and NRDC for seeking a compromise with the bill's supporters.
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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