So far so good, but unfortunately a year does not go by without Governor Brown, in close cooperation with the Democratically controlled State Legislature, pitching bills that would erode CEQA, including its ability to inform decision makers of the climate change impacts of all major projects.
For example, this year, Governor Brown and his legislative counterparts are champions of SB 734, legislation that would fast track the environmental review of controversial high-rise mega-projects, like 8150 Sunset.
Other efforts to erode CEQA are proposed amendments to Governmental Code sections 65400.1 and 65913.3. They would exempt multiple-residential developments from environmental review by considering them to be by-right projects in order to increase housing production. This is based on an urban legend I have previously debunked: the production of luxury housing miraculously increases the supply of affordable housing… (more)
We are getting the same thing in San Francisco. Recently our Environmental Officer who makes CEQA determinations, was asked, what happens when the market rate housing goals are reached years ahead of schedule but the other elements of the plan lag behind.
The answer was, when one plan level is reached we simply shift to using the metrics of another plan. In other words, there is no plan to follow any of the carefully thought out plans to balance housing with jobs and infrastructure needed to sustain the growing population of residents moving into the market rate housing.
Why bother to cut out CEQA requirements legally when you can just ignore them entirely?