Two pieces of legislation now on Governor Jerry Brown's desk would streamline (or "fast track" if you prefer that) the state's legendary environmental review process called CEQA. To me, they seem pretty different. Since they're complicated, I'm breaking them down.
SB 292 would apply only to the Farmers Field/AEG stadium project proposed for downtown Los Angeles. AB 900 would apply to what it terms "leadership projects" that meet certain criteria - either put forward by agencies or endorsed by the governor. (I've got a lot of open questions about that one.)
It's worth pointing out how the AEG stadium bill differs from AB 900, and what all that means for Governor J.B.
TWO THINGS CEQA LOVERS COULD LIVE WITH ABOUT SB 292 (if they want to)
1. It should make a Farmers Field where car traffic is at least 10 percent less than any other NFL stadium. The law places specific reporting and monitoring requirements for counting car trips ("trip ratio") on AEG, not just for a year, but for the first five years, and if it's not working by then, the city has the right to make AEG do stuff differently. For its part, the city is supposed to re-visit the question of how to come in with fewer car trips than any other stadium, and it has authority over the project for its entire life.
Please forgive me for completely missing the news that AB 900, the environmental review fast-tracking bill about which I wrote last week, is further along. Apparently the hollowed-out bill that was filled in with CEQA reforms for Senate votes a week ago has also passed the Assembly - it had to have been after 3:30 AM Saturday, since the Senate still had the bill then, but since I wasn't on a cot in a Capitol hallway, I don't know exactly.
Eric Richardson of Blogdowntown and I had a lively discussion about this last week. So I decided to read the text of both the AEG stadium speeder-legislation (SB 292) and the big-scale assembly bill that would do the same thing for a whole cohort of anonymous future projects.
In this post I'll lay out some major provisions of AB 900 and raise questions about their impact on CEQA, the state's long-maligned, elephantine, planning law that keeps the legal industry in business.
12:04 pm: The bill passed out of the State Senate's environment committee, 5-1, and is going straight to the floor, according to NRDC's David Petit. KPCC's Julie Small says they're debating the bill on the floor now. AEG refused to comment to Small about the bill. This is happening fast, if you can't tell.
12:14 pm:Why is Darrell Steinberg, the author of the bill mandating smart growth be included in CEQA planning, backing a fast-tracking of CEQA that lacks enforcement provisions?
2:49 pm: AB900 passed floor, now to Assembly.
Is AEG spawning a CONTAGION of precedent-setting changes to the state's environmental review process?
A bill that back in April and May concerned schools now would speed review of CEQA appeals for major projects around the state.