No law annoys California developers more than the California Environmental Quality Act and they figure to win at least some changes to its strict 42-year-old rules next year.
They almost sneaked through a major softening of the state’s premier environmental law last September in the waning moments of the last legislative session, but were forced to back off in the face of heavy objections to softening the law without any public hearings at all.
CEQA requires sponsors of any building project or other development that will have a significant effect on the environment to write an environmental impact report assessing the effects of even its smallest aspects. Signed in 1970 by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, the law was intended to supplement the National Environment Policy Act of 1969, signed by President Richard Nixon. That law demands an environmental impact statement for every significant action by any federal agency.
The national law, for just one example, is the reason why the U.S. Navy cannot practice gunnery on the western side of the military-owned San Clemente Island without first making sure it won’t affect migrating whales...