Michael Zischke was quoted in an article published in the May 2013 issue of California Lawyer about plans to build California's high speed rail project and suits brought to challenge the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. Last June, Madera and Merced counties, property owners, farmers and others filed a trio of lawsuits against the California High Speed Rail Authority alleging that much of the project would deviate from designated transportation corridors and would interfere with farmland, wildlife habitat and homes and that the environmental impact report done for the first phase of the project was faulty.
The article also discusses various efforts to reform CEQA, but says that Gov. Jerry Brown's and various legislators have different ideas about what to change and different reasons for wanting to do so.
“One thing that strikes me as you look at the debate over CEQA is that both [developers and environmentalists] could use more certainty” about what is permissible, Zischke told the publication.
“It's true that one person's NIMBY is another person's cause-of-the-day,” he said. “But California has the most ambiguous rules of any state. There were times and places where CEQA has gone astray. When you have a project with obvious environmental benefits - such as high-speed rail - the object shouldn't be to block it. It should be to disclose impacts, identify appropriate mitigation, and make the process predictable.”