If you track California regulation like we do, you’ve heard of CEQA reform – that’s the California Environmental Quality Act, and it’s regularly used by NIMBY and environmental groups to slow down projects that have fully complied with the law.
These groups can make even the most ridiculous arguments, allege a CEQA violation, and the whole matter gets tossed into the over-crowded California courts, pretty much guaranteeing a delay of a year or more in the start of the project. Even though most of the cases ultimately are thrown out, legal fees, delays and (sometimes) settlements that impact the project all drive up costs for the project proponent. That makes California more expensive and less business friendly.
Here’s a case in point: FRESCA, a days-old Fresno group, just sued the city, claiming a full-blown Environmental Impact Report should be prepared for the transfer of trash pick-up services from the city to a private company. The city wants to do this because the trash franchise fees will help to close an abyss-deep budget gap. I’m guessing FRESCA is a front group for city unions, so we know what they want.
Fine. Try to protect cushy union jobs. But how does privatizing trash collection impact the environment? Is privately hauled trash dirtier than publicly hauled trash?
Of course not! The lawsuit is ridiculous on its face, but that doesn’t stop FRESCA from delaying fiscal relief for a city much in need of fiscal relief – all so union employees can pad their retirement pensions a bit more before being tossed into the real world.
And that, my friends, is why CEQA reform is necessary.