To learn more about CEQA Litigation Abuse, read the following publication:
CEQA Litigation Abuse Q & A
What is CEQA?
CEQA is a law created to protect the environment. It grants developers permission to build prior to breaking ground.
Why is The Two Hundred against CEQA?
We are not against CEQA, but we would like to improve its effectiveness and eliminate the way it encourages litigation abuse.
What is litigation abuse?
Litigation Abuse is the misuse of CEQA to protect special interest groups like NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) organizations or Building Trades Unions. NIMBYs use CEQA to stop construction of projects out of fear of the depreciation of their homes or socioeconomic change in their communities. Building Trades Unions use CEQA to extort prevailing wage contracts and are some of the biggest abusers of these laws.
How does CEQA litigation abuse harm Californians?
Litigation abuse raises the price of housing due to the costs of the delays. Developers often abandon projects because NIMBYs will keep them in court for as long as possible. A 2015 study estimated that land use restrictions costs the United States upwards of $1.5 trillion in lost productivity.
CEQA abuse also undermines the state’s environmental, climate, social equity and economic priorities by making it impossible to complete affordable housing projects, new forms of transit and even community parks. It harms the poor, working class and the young, and obstructs environmental priorities.
Is The Two Hundred Opposed to environmental protections?
The Two Hundred is not anti-environment or opposed to CEQA. In fact the environment is one of our top priorities. Many low-income minorities live in some of the most polluted areas. We need CEQA the most because the communities we represent are in greatest need of their protection.
However, we are opposed to how NIMBYs use CEQA to camouflage their interests behind environmental concerns. CEQA has great intentions but the unintended consequences have hurt low-income communities of color. We want to make CEQA stronger by getting rid of those parts that people misuse when they engage in CEQA litigation abuse.
What are the immediate benefits to ending CEQA litigation abuse?
Ending litigation abuse will result in the timely construction of more housing developments at a lesser cost, the creation of more jobs to build these projects, and proof to skeptical taxpayers that California can complete important public projects on time.
How can we end CEQA Litigation Abuse?
We recommend these three reforms to curtail CEQA litigation abuse:
- Require those filling CEQA lawsuits to disclose their identity.
The legislature can and should require full transparency for any litigation under CEQA. Interest groups should not be able to hide behind CEQA anonymity.
- Eliminate duplicative lawsuits aimed at derailing plans and projects that have already completed the CEQA process.
Some projects have been sued more than 20 times.
- Restrict the effects of a lawsuit on a given project.
The simple act of filing a CEQA lawsuit can choke off funding and stop a project even if the lawsuit has no merit and is filed for non-environmental purposes.
What does the future hold for The Two Hundred’s Relationship with CEQA?
Without the abuse of this important law, The Two Hundred maintains that CEQA is vital to the future of our state. Our goal is to work with the environmental community to improve CEQA by removing those elements that allow NIMBYs and unions to misuse it, while keeping those that continue to protect the environment. In the future The Two Hundred expects to work side by side with CEQA to fulfill our goals of protecting the environment and providing affordable housing for low income California residents.