Dems See Downside of CEQA

SACRAMENTO – Although many of California’s legislative Democrats are eager to “test drive” the new two-thirds majorities their caucuses hold in the Assembly and Senate – i.e., pushing the limits of their power to advance their progressive agenda – others are focusing on a sensible reform that almost everyone knows is slowing job growth.

Passed in 1970 at the height of the nation’s push to clean up the environment, the California Environmental Quality Act created a convoluted bureaucratic process to “mitigate” environmental harm from major new projects. One can argue whether the high costs the act imposes in terms of delays and reports have helped preserve the state’s ecology, but there’s no question it delays the construction of just about everything.

CEQA (pronounced See-Kwa) has been a boon not only to enterprising consultants who prepare foot-high stacks of Environmental Impact Statements, but for lawyers, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) groups, environmental activists and labor unions that manipulate the process for cynical reasons that have nothing to do with identifying and reducing potential environmental harm.

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