CEQA Roundup: After meeting with governor, Steinberg puts comprehensive CEQA bill on hold

CEQA Roundup: After meeting with governor, Steinberg puts comprehensive CEQA bill on hold

by Justin Ewers : caeconomy – excerpt

And just like that, after a year of fighting tooth-and-nail to keep his politically complicated CEQA reform package moving forward—a bill he not-so-jokingly referred to as the How to Make No Friends Act—Senate leader Darrell Steinberg last night decided to put aside his statewide CEQA legislation, SB 731, and turn his focus instead to his new bill, SB 743, to streamline the CEQA process for a Sacramento Kings arena.
The turn of events surprised many observers, especially because Steinberg seemed to be working hard this week to line up a coalition of infill builders, smart growth advocates, and labor groups he needed to move SB 731 forward over growing opposition from the business community.
A Wednesday evening meeting between Steinberg and the governor appears to have changed all that. Insiders say the governor pushed the Senate leader to pick one CEQA bill to get behind this legislative session, and Steinberg chose the Kings arena, putting his statewide legislation on hold until next year. Steinberg also reportedly promised to add several provisions requested by the governor.
According to amendments made public earlier this week, the Kings bill would already provide the arena with an expedited 270-day period for judicial review, give the city the power to use eminent domain to claim property for the arena project (even before the arena’s environmental impact report is complete), and create a new, super-compressed timeline for public review that will end disputes not in court, but in non-binding mediation … (more)

Looks like Steinberg has his priorities in order. He either cares more about the stadium or he just figured it was an easier, less complicated bill to salvage.

Steinberg Has Blunt Words for CEQA Overhaul Backers

Steinberg Has Blunt Words for CEQA Overhaul Backers – back off on more this year.

By Ben Adler : capradio.org – excerpt

The measure at the center of the debate over modifying the California Environmental Quality Act has passed a key legislative committee. But the bill’s author is warning business groups calling for a broad overhaul to tone down their list of demands…
(audio track)

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says he’s weighed the concerns of all sides in the CEQA debate – and decided he wants his bill to encourage urban infill development and discourage suburban sprawl.
But the business coalition supporting a more sweeping overhaul says Steinberg’s proposal wouldn’t do enough to spur the economy and reduce abusive lawsuits.  “Infill is one piece of that, if we agree on that approach.  But it’s a much bigger issue for California’s economy.  We’re talking about the state as a whole, and it goes far beyond infill,” says Rob Lapsley with the California Business Roundtable.
Still, Steinberg had some blunt words for the business groups: “If there is any expectation – and I know there is a big expectation – that my bill will include the lengthy and ever-changing list that the CEQA coalition seems to want, you’re gonna have to find another author, another year, another time, another way to do this,” he told the Assembly Local Government Committee Wednesday, which passed his bill by a 7-0 vote.
Labor and environmental groups are heavily lobbying against major changes to the law.  All sides say they want to continue working with Steinberg over the final month of this year’s legislative session… (move)

Steinberg still trying to get California environmental law deal

CEQA Week in Review: Senate leader Steinberg intros CEQA bill hours after Rubio resigns

CEQA Week in Review: Senate leader Steinberg intros CEQA bill hours after Rubio resigns

by Justin Ewers : caeconomy.org – excerpt

After a long day of having its thunder stolen by Sen. Rubio’s resignation, the Legislature’s long-awaited CEQA reform bill was finally introduced late this afternoon by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
We’ll take a closer look next week at the specifics of the bill, now called SB 731, which, as expected, includes intent language only and still lacks many specifics.
A few initial observations:
A broad coalition: Steinberg seems to have established détente between environmentalists, business, and labor groups that have been readying themselves for a political showdown over the last several months… (more)

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