Looks Like CEQA Reform Talks Are Underway…Good Luck People.

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Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) was the California state legislator who was poised to introduce the gut-and-amend Sustainable Environmental Protection Act to amend the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the waning days of the 2012 legislative session. (See my articles A First Crack at Analyzing the Proposed CEQA Reform: “The Sustainable Environmental Protection Act” of 2012 and CEQA Reform is Over for This California Legislative Session: Sustainable Environmental Protection Act May Return in 2013.)

Senator Rubio is now preparing a CEQA reform proposal for 2013. He tweeted this message on December 17, 2012:

Michael J. Rubio ‏@michaelrubio

Just leaving a mtg w/ 30 CEO’s and fellow legislators where we discussed modernizing CEQA. Thank you @CarlGuardino and SunPower for hosting!

Carl Guardino (@CarlGuardino) is the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the group that has been leading the charge at the California state legislature for CEQA reform. SunPower is a solar energy company that has sought approval to build power plants in the San Joaquin Valley. SunPower has signed Project Labor Agreements with unions to build some of these solar power plants.

After hearing about this meeting, someone sent me a cynical email:

Never happen. Too good a thing for union bosses to give up.

Considering that in the last legislative session, Senator Rubio introduced and pushed the construction union-backed Senate Bill 922 and Senate Bill 829 to nullify or discourage Fair and Open Competition policies prohibiting local governments from requiring Project Labor Agreements, I agree it is quite unlikely that Senator Rubio will proposed any legislation that hinders the ability of construction unions to use CEQA as a tool in extorting Project Labor Agreements from developers. (See It Didn’t Take the First Time: Governor Brown Signs Union Bill #2 to Discourage Voters and City Councils from Banning Project Labor Agreements.)

Who else cared about this meeting? Senator Rubio’s tweet was retweeted or favorited by two journalists and also by the following people:

@ArnoHarris – CEO of Recurrent Energy, one of North America’s leading solar project developers, Board Chair of #SEIA and Board Member of #AEE.

Recurrent Energy is another solar energy company that has sought approval to build power plants in the San Joaquin Valley. Recurrent Energy has signed Project Labor Agreements with unions. California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) has targeted proposed projects of Recurrent Energy.

@chrisshimoda – Manager of Environmental Policy at the California Trucking Association.

This reminds me that the Teamsters Joint Council 7 union filed a CEQA lawsuit in 2010 court to stop construction of Madison Dearborn’s VWR International Laboratory Equipment Distribution Facility in Visalia. They claimed to be concerned that trucks would execerbate global waming, but what they really wanted was a collective bargaining agreement for the truckers.

@joe_lacava – land use consultant with the firm Avetterra in La Jolla (in San Diego)

Marcela Escobar-Eck@SanDiegoLandUse – keeping San Diego informed of breaking trends in Land Use, Community Development Issues and Regulatory trends…. and a few other things. A land use consultant with Atlantis Group in San Diego.

Robert Cruickshank@cruickshank – “Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win.” Left Coast

Cruickshank does a lot of diverse policy and political consulting for the Left in a model similar to what I try to do for the Right, but he seems to be more successful at it, perhaps because his side is winning now.

@MrJacobMejiaPublic Affairs representative for the Pechanga Indian Reservation near Temecula. The tribe owns and operates the Pechanga Resort & Casino and directly employs more than 5,000 people.

In November, this tribe recently came to an agreement with Granite Construction Company to resolve a seven-year dispute over a proposed gravel quarry. CEQA was central in that fight. See Pechanga to Buy Quarry SiteSan Diego Union-Tribune – November 15, 2012.

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  1. […] For more background on CEQA reform, see my three articles A First Crack at Analyzing the Proposed CEQA Reform: “The Sustainable Environmental Protection Act” of 2012, CEQA Reform is Over for This California Legislative Session: Sustainable Environmental Protection Act May Return in 2013, and Looks Like CEQA Reform Talks Are Underway…Good Luck People. […]