By Tim Redmond : sfbg.com – excerpt
So the Guv says he doesn’t think he’s going to be able to gut CEQA this year. I think he’s right: The party he supposedly leads (but doesn’t tend to follow him) won’t go for it, any more than the party Obama leads will got for cuts to Social Security.
It’s partly that both are hard-fought pieces of progressive history. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a good time for the environmental movement — Congress passed both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, and Nixon signed both. The California Legislature passed CEQA in 1970, and Gov. Reagan signed it. Back then, even Republicans thought it was a good thing to be on the side of protecting the planet.
But there’s more — and it’s interesting that the state Leg, typically not known as a bastion of progressive thought, is better on this issue than San Francisco, where some sort of changes to CEQA are almost inevitable.
Some background: What NEPA and CEQA did, first and foremost, was eliminate the problem of “standing” that had plagued environmental lawyers for years. If I couldn’t prove that a horrible development project on the San Francisco waterfront would personally injure me (which would typically mean I had to own adjacent property), I had no right to go to court to oppose it. CEQA mandates a valid, complete environmental review of any major project, which gives anyone the right to sue; I may not be able to describe specific financial damages from a project, but as a citizen, I have a legal right to an adequate Environmental Impact Report.
Likewise, anyone can appeal a development in San Francisco to the Board of Supervisors on the grounds that the EIR was inadequate… (more)