Capitol Battle Over Environmental Law Comes Down To ‘Standards’

Two months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown, in plugging CEQA reform, told legislators, “Our approach needs to be based more on consistent standards that provide greater certainty and cut needless delays.”

The key word was “standards,” which has been a byword of business and local-government groups seeking to bring more certainty to environmental reviews of private and public projects and reduce the incidence of litigation after government agencies give their approvals.

If a project meets the “standards” that those agencies impose after weighing the pros and cons, they argue, opponents should not be able to string out the process further with endless rounds of litigation. They cite specific cases in which the costs and delays of lengthy litigation rendered the projects unfeasible.

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