Governor Pushing for New Limits on CEQA--the Law that Now Makes Developers Pay to Fix the Problems they Cause
From 10/17/2008 PCL Insider:
WHICH WAY NOW? QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT FOLLOW UP TO CALIFORNIA'S NEW LAW LINKING LAND USE AND GLOBAL WARMING
Last month, as the deadline to sign or veto proposed legislation drew near, Governor Schwarzenegger approved SB 375 (Steinberg), which links land use planning, transportation funding, and housing policy in an attempt to promote smarter developments that will help the state meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction mandate. SB 375 offers incentives to promote sustainable development by redefining how the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will be applied to the best-planned communities. For example, residential and mixed use development projects that help the region reach its emission reductions goals won't have to analyze certain climate impacts during the CEQA process. The bill strikes a delicate balance between promoting sustainable growth while ensuring environmental review is not jeopardized.
However despite the delicate balancing act in SB 375, in his signing statement the Governor has suggested further limitations to CEQA for infrastructure and commercial projects. The Governor's suggestions would tip the scales and could significantly reduce the ability of local residents to participate in the CEQA process to push for better plans and projects.
Senator Darrell Steinberg, in a formal letter responding to questions raised about the role of CEQA in addressing global warming (see page 14 of the linked document), committed to discussing the issue next year. Senator Steinberg has promised to invite all interested parties. Staff from the Planning and Conservation League will be there to defend CEQA against aggressive efforts to weaken California's most power tool to protect public health and our environment.