Thursday, October 27, 2011


Dear my esteemed CEQA reformers:

I invite you to participate in a follow-up conference call about "CEQA Reform: Where do we go from here?"

I am coordinating this call with Terry Watt, AICP and LAEDC's JoAnne Golden on Wednesday, November 2 (4pm).   Please join us.

Let me know if you plan to participate and if you'd like to add any specific talking points to the agenda.

"CEQA Reform:  Where do we go from here?"
conference call
Wednesday, November 2 (4:00pm - 5:00pm)
Please call: 1.702.851.4044
Access Code#: 3780800


1.  The need to have both specific recommendations and the reason we are recommending them—i.e., what abuse/unintended outcome has surfaced, what in the current framework has allowed it to occur, and what is the specific recommendation to change it? 

2.  Exploring SB 226 in more depth to see what it does and doesn’t do and what’s still needed to fill the void in that bill’s original intent that may have been left out due to last-minute modifications. 

3. Ditto for AB 900 and SB 292, as well.

4.  Talking points suggested by TBD participants

ALSO, as a point of information, I am including the following:

1.  LAEDC's CEQA realignment proposal - bullet points (LAEDC and the Green Economy)
3.  The ECAT proposal  (Enhanced CEQA Action Team)

Very truly yours,

Will Wright
Director of Government & Public Affairs
AIA Los Angeles

3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010
213.639.0764  phone
213.639.0767  fax

Please see below for the LAEDC’s CEQA realignment proposals.  We really see these as proposals that strengthen the environmental goals of CEQA while eliminating some of the nonenvironmental uses (or abuses) of the statute.


CEQA should be refocused on improving environmental outcomes thereby eliminating suits that focus on procedural errors that have no effect on the environment.  This can be doing by amending the statute so as to provide that a lead agency’s action under CEQA may not be set aside by a court unless the alleged CEQA defect prevented the lead agency from considering a feasible mitigation measure for a significant environmental impact which was presented to the lead agency by the Petitioner.

The Private Attorney General Statute should be amended to provide attorney fees to plaintiffs in CEQA actions only if the court finds that the alleged CEQA defect prevented the lead agency from considering a feasible mitigation measure for a significant environmental impact.  This reform discourages CEQA lawsuits by contingency fee lawyers ensuring that lawyers taking contingency fee cases would have to be confident that there was a substantive defect in the CEQA; that is, the alleged defect resulted in a lead agency not considering a feasible mitigation measure.
The term “Environment” should be clarified to pertain only to the “natural” environment and not to urban conditions such as traffic, parking, or public services.  CEQA was originally designed to protect the natural environment, but over the years has been broadened through interpretation and practice to be used as an urban planning tool.  CEQA is an inefficient urban planning tool, and it is structurally biased to discourage changes to any status quo environmental condition (whether that condition is good or bad).  This reform would re-focus CEQA on protecting California’s land, air and water quality (which was the original intention), and would allow urban planning issues to be handled more efficiently through local zoning processes.

Thanks for taking such a strong role in this, Will.  Please let me know if you need anything else.

JoAnne Golden
Manager of Public Policy, Strategic Initiatives
Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation

Streamlining CEQA to better implement SB375 FINAL 04-26-11.pdf Download this file

ECAT CEQA Amendment Proposal_Sept 2011.pdf Download this file

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