Wednesday, March 13, 2013
A coalition of advocacy groups is calling on California lawmakers to leave the state’s landmark environmental law alone. That coalition includes labor unions – even though development projects governed by the California Environmental Quality Act create construction jobs.
Labor unions have joined a coalition of advocacy groups lobbying against changes they say would weaken the California Environmental Quality Act. Unions argue they're protecting their workers and communities; critics say unions use CEQA as leverage.
Labor leaders said unions must be environmentalists – to protect their workers and communities. And Robbie Hunter with the State Building Trades of California said CEQA has not slowed construction projects down:
“It has forced people to look at a project in more of a critical eye and adjust it – which has often made it more streamlined.”
But Republican State Senator Tom Berryhill said unions – and developers – use the threat of a CEQA lawsuit as a negotiating tactic:
“They both use CEQA as leverage points to get better deals. And they’ll hold this stuff up until all of a sudden, they have to meet their demands.”
Lawmakers will decide whether to make any CEQA changes later this year.