Senate Bill 787 – CEQA Reform Legislation

2/25/2013 : Senator Tom Berryhill – excerpt

The following are just a few examples of how California’s Environmental Quality Act has been abused.  Projects that bring jobs to our communities, help senior citizens, children and our neighborhood businesses become collateral damage when CEQA is used as a delaying tactic in a political game.   For more information on these types of abuses please visit the CEQA Working Group.

  1. From the Fresno Bee:  “Organized labor uses the threat of CEQA lawsuits to dictate hiring and wages on big construction jobs.  Nitpicking historic preservationists have tied up projects in court, as has been done with a mixed-income townhouse project at L and San Joaquin streets in downtown Fresno.”
    SOURCE:  “EDITORIAL: CEQA serves the state well, but it needs adjustments,” Fresno Bee, 22 February 2013
  2. From Charities Housing and the SVLG, in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:  In Santa Clara, CEQA was used by a NIMBY group to stall and ultimately stop a desperately needed transit-oriented affordable housing project for seniors simply because they didn’t want the project in their neighborhood.
    SOURCE:  “Dan Wu and Carl Guardino: The time is right to modernize the California Environmental Quality Act,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, 16 February 2013
  3. From CEQA Working Group website and the Bay Area Council and the SVLG, in the San Francisco Chronicle:  In El Cerrito, NIMBY neighborhood groups have abused CEQA to prevent the modernization of the Castro Elementary School as a replacement for the seismically unsafe Portola Middle School.  The lawsuits have added $10 million in additional costs for the school district, delayed school construction for more than four years and displaced hundreds of students.
    TWO SOURCES (take your pick): or “Editorial:  Time to Modernize CEQA,” Jim Wunderman and Carl Guardino, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 January 2013
  4. From CEQA Working Group website:  Moe’s Stop gas station in San Jose… A competitor has used (abused) CEQA to try to prevent the owner of Moe’s Stop from expanding his business by adding gas pumps.  So far it has cost Moe’s Stop $500,000 in increased litigation costs, delayed the project by 18 months, and shut down the station for 8 months while the frivolous litigation proceeded.

Senator Berryhill represents the counties of Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne.  As a result of redistricting, he also services the needs of citizens from Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mono, Tulare and parts of Sacramento. For additional information about Senator Berryhill please visit his website at or sign up for his monthly newsletter here.




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