California lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that would soften parts of a landmark, 4-decade-old environmental law and could pave the way for the quick approval of large developments across the state.
In the final hours of the year's legislative session, Democrats pushed through a measure that would give the governor the power to speed up the environmental review process on some large construction projects, including sports stadiums and green manufacturing plants. It was sent to the governor late Friday.
This is nothing more than standard New Deal-style corporatism. It's a gift to labor unions, big developers, and a few urban pols who want to build sports arenas. The bill's main proponents are city fathers in Sacramento, who want to build a new basketball arena, and the city of Los Angeles, which wants to build a new football stadium. Liberals are the "smart" party, of course, so I guess they know something about economic benefits (economically, they are a loser) of the public funding of sports stadiums that the rest of us don't know.
If signed by the governor, AB900 would allow projects costing $100 million or more to request streamlined judicial review under the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA. That law, passed in 1970, requires public agencies to identify the environmental impacts of construction and other projects and mitigate them.