Environmental Protection Laws under Siege: The Advance of Efforts to Create Exemptions to CEQA and Suspend AB 32

Environmental Protection Laws under Siege: The Advance of Efforts to Create Exemptions to CEQA and Suspend AB 32

   By Douglas Carstens, Partner, Chatten-Brown & Carstens

Get insightful analysis on recent attacks against the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). This article addresses attempts to blame CEQA and AB 32 for many economic ills that beset California, and the current efforts to exempt certain projects from CEQA. The article initially appeared as the Lead Article for the July issue of CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER (Matthew Bender).

“This year, attacks against the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are intense,” writes Douglas Carstens. “CEQA for the past several decades has protected California's natural environment and the quality of Californians' lives in numerous ways. It has enabled ordinary people, environmental and community groups, and public agencies to participate in public decisionmaking about a wide variety of projects affecting their communities. AB 32 has been touted as an example of Governor Schwarzenegger's commitment to a greener California, and is credited with setting an example nationwide of how to control the emissions of greenhouse gasses.”

“However, some manufacturers, builders, engineers, developers, business interests, and others have blamed CEQA and AB 32 for many of the economic ills that beset the state. They have called for the suspension of AB 32 until the economy improves, and for significant limitations on CEQA. Although many recent proposals and two enacted bills last year dealt with exempting certain projects, most proposals to amend CEQA focus on creating limitations on judicial review of decisions under the Act to curb alleged abuse of CEQA and shorten delays associated with litigation,” explains the author. “As a result, the ability of concerned individuals, groups, and public agencies to effectively challenge that review in court to ensure its legal sufficiency would be eliminated. This article explores the background of this current wave of proposals, identifies and explains some of the exemptions, and identifies the various arguments that have been espoused for and against the proposals.”

Subscribers can access the complete commentary, Environmental Protection Laws under Siege: The Advance of Efforts to Create Exemptions to CEQA and Suspend AB 32. Additional fees may be incurred. (approx. 10 pages)

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Douglas Carstens is a partner in ChattenBrown & Carstens in Santa Monica, California, a firm that represents plaintiffs in environmental and land use actions. The firm was special counsel to the City of Walnut in challenging the approval of the NFL football stadium by the City of Industry that preceded enactment of AB3x 81 to exempt the stadium from CEQA.

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