Three Controversial Bills To Reform CEQA

The CA Environmental Quality Act: you either love it or hate it. The 1970 law either protects the environment or stifles smart growth, depending upon your perspective. Three bills lie on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk that address different aspects of it.
September 19, 2011, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The CEQA-reform bills are SB 226 (Simitian), SB 292 (Padilla) and AB 900 (Buchanan). Legal Planet, a " a collaboration between UC Berkeley School of Law and UCLA School of Law" appears to view the bills as being, in general, favorable to promoting urban infill while reducing auto-dependency, yet they also note serious glitches in them.

"SB 292 is the narrowest of the three bills, but of particular interest to Southern Californians. It concerns one of the biggest, currently-pending urban infill projects in California: the so-called Convention Center Modernization and Farmers Field Project (more commonly referred to as the AEG stadium) slated for downtown Los Angeles.

AB 900, by contrast, contains similar CEQA judicial review 'reforms,' but applies them to a significantly larger group of potential projects." SFGate notes that only "projects costing $100 million or more (could) request streamlined judicial review" under the bill."

"SB 226, which focuses on renewable energy and urban infill projects, potentially has the broadest impact of any of the three CEQA bills."

Cumulatively, the bills "represent the most significant amendments to CEQA in many years."

From Alternet: Legislature Approves Controversial CEQA Reforms: "The Planning & Conservation League, joining with a coalition including Sierra Club California, Coalition for Clean Air, Clean Water Action, and a host of environmental justice and community groups from the Los Angeles area and throughout California, tried valiantly to stave off three bills that will weaken protections of The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)," the group wrote."

Thanks to Deirdre Des Jardins

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Published on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Legal Planet
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