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Biz and Construction Groups Aim to Change California's Environmental Law



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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, August 20, 2012

The California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA is the state's complex environmental review process for building and construction projects.

Carl Guardino with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group says the law has been manipulated to stop development.

GUARDINO: "This great law has been greatly abused for non-environmental purposes."

So he's leading an effort to change the law so that any project that meets state, federal and local environmental regulations could not be sued under CEQA.

Jim Earp with a coalition of construction unions supports these proposed changes.

EARP: "It's not always just about how many end up in lawsuits, it's, and this is particularly true in public infrastructure projects, how much the delay adds to the cost of that project."

But Kathryn Phillips with the Sierra Club says lawsuits are how the law is enforced.

PHILLIPS: "The reason we've been getting better developments, we've been getting cleaner projects is because whatever is going to be built there has to mitigate or reduce the emissions that they would otherwise produce."

Any changes to the law would have to be voted on in the next two weeks.

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