CEQA reform is over for this legislative session.
- The Sacramento Bee reports that Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said at a press conference today (August 23, 2012) that the Senate will not consider the Sustainable Environmental Protection Act during this legislative session. (Bid to Overhaul California Environmental Law Falls Short)
- The Los Angeles Times reports that “last-minute legislation to change the California Environmental Quality Act will be placed into ‘pre-print’ so that the public can read it during the fall, and the bill will be formally introduced next session.” (Common Sense on CEQA Finally Prevails)
- The Orange County Register reports that State Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) – the anticipated author of the Sustainable Environmental Protection Act – “suggested that a special session of the Legislature on CEQA would be appropriate, and Steinberg said he’d support that.” (State Environmental Reform Proposal Already Dead)
Some union officials, environmental lobbyists, and lawyers specializing in exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are celebrating with emailed bulletins and tweets. (See the August 23, 2012 “Sierra Club California Statement on Abandonment of Environmentally Dangerous Bill.”) One particularly happy Tweeting union leader is Lorena Gonzalez, head of the San Diego County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
That’s no surprise if you read my August 8 post,”Unions Submit 436 Pages of Objections to Draft Environmental Impact Report for Proposed San Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion Project: CEQA Abuse Run Rampant.”
UNITE HERE Local 30 (based in San Diego) and the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council have filed a massive CEQA objection with the United Port of San Diego concerning the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed San Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion Project and the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel expansion.
Here are some recent Tweets from Lorena Gonzalez
And the Rubio
#CEQA reform bill is officially dead! Yay!
#CEQA. Gutting 40 years of progress will hurt the environment, workers and the public! These aren’t reforms, they go too far.
So happy to see most of our SD Democratic Legislators asking their colleagues to keep their hands off CEQA
Meanwhile, I posted this in the comment section of the Sacramento Bee article, “Bid to Overhaul California Environmental Law Falls Short“:
The Sierra Club representative called the bill “one of the worst attacks on environmental protections that we’ve seen in the 40-year life of this law.” They actually mean, “one of the worst attacks on our political agenda from Democrats, whom we thought would never betray us by supporting economic growth and job creation.”
Actually, it’s questionable whether or not this “Sustainable Environmental Protection Act” of 2012 would have been all that effective in hindering the professional CEQA operators – the people who use CEQA for economic or financial objectives. It was certainly tame and weak compared to Assembly Bill 598, for which the Sierra Club lobbyist took great offense during a January 9, 2012 hearing of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. If that bill had become law, it would have shut down the CEQA extortion industry by limiting the authority to file lawsuits under CEQA to the California Attorney General.
The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council can continue to enjoy their “Blue-Green Alliance” of convenience with labor unions and turn a blind eye to how CEQA is exploited for purposes other than environmental protection, such as coercing Project Labor Agreements, Neutrality Agreements, etc.
They’ve been coasting for 40 years on the Friends of Mammoth v. Board of Supervisors of Mono County decision of the California Supreme Court in 1972, which stunned many by applying CEQA to private projects and activities. One day soon the political pendulum will swing to the Right in this state (probably after the state tries to file for bankruptcy), and then AB 598 will become law.
In the meantime, enjoy the CEQA paperwork! For example, here’s what the Fresno County Planning and Land Use Division has been dealing with as unions object to proposed solar energy power plants: