SACRAMENTO – Yesterday Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, presented AB 1398 which would streamline the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and provide certainty for project proponents seeking to expand in California by prohibiting litigation over aspects of a project that meets all existing state, local and federal environment standards. AB 1398 was voted down in Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a straight party line vote of 3-6.
“CEQA was envisioned as a tool and now it is used as a weapon,” Wilk said. “AB 1398 would preserve the law's original intent, environmental protection, while preventing special interest CEQA abuse that jeopardizes community renewal, job creation and the environment.”
The intention of CEQA when Governor Ronald Reagan signed the measure 40 years ago was for developers to factor in environment protection when building a project and there were few environmental laws at the time. CEQA abuse is real and stands in the way of important infrastructure projects, hampers efforts to create more affordable housing, improve amenities in urban areas and undermines California's economic success without any additional environmental protections.
In closing Wilk stated, “It is time we as the legislature pass real CEQA reform, not just specific exemptions for rich, politically well-connected people who profit from building a NFL stadium or NBA arena. I want to see this extended to all projects, not just a few chosen ones.”