Viewpoint: CEQA Must Be Modernized

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The Recorder

Michael Zischke wrote an opinion piece with Tina Thomas, of the Thomas Law Group, about the need to modernize the California Environmental Quality Act. Published in The Recorder on Jan. 4, 2013, the article is in response to an earlier piece in the paper which, according to the authors, “rests on a number of flawed premises and simple misstatements.”  

Zischke and Thomas wrote that the CEQA reform movement involves a broad-based coalition frustrated by a growing number of court decisions that have halted or delayed hugely beneficial projects. Those involved are also motivated by the “unpredictability and uncertainty” in the CEQA process, they said.

Among other misrepresentations, those who oppose CEQA modernization use misleading figures to claim that there is no CEQA litigation problem. According to the authors, they also try to paint a inaccurate picture that only “heavy industry” and “big developers” are interested in reforming the law.

“There are countless examples of CEQA being used to stop or delay environmentally beneficial projects such as high-density infill developments, large-scale renewable power projects, mass transit and transit-oriented development, and vital public works projects like schools, hospitals and universities,” Zischke and Thomas wrote. “The data demonstrates that CEQA lawsuits are most frequently used to challenge precisely the type of infill and smart growth that are necessary for California to meet its environmental goals.”

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