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Business and Labor Groups Aim to Change California’s Environmental Law

Aired 8/20/12 on KPBS News.

With just two weeks left in the legislative session, these groups are pushing to change California's complex environmental review process for new building and construction. They say the law is being abused to stall development.

With just two weeks left in the legislative session, some business and labor groups are pushing to change California's complex environmental review process for building and construction projects.

Jim Earp is with a coalition of construction unions. He said the law gets abused by being used to stall new development.

"It's not always just about how many end up in lawsuits, its, and this is particularly true in public infrastructure projects, how much the delay adds to the cost of that project," commented Earp.

But Kathryn Phillips with Sierra Club California said the law's teeth come from its ability to sue.

"The good thing and the bad thing about CEQA is it's citizen enforcement - if they start taking away litigation, how do they expect this thing to be enforced?" said Phillips.

There's no written legislation yet, but business groups said they're pushing to change the law so that it would only apply in situations where there are no other state or federal environmental laws.

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