Politics

Construction unions seek to change Environmental Quality Act

The California State Capitol in Sacramento. Some business and labor groups are pushing to change the Environmental Quality Act — specifically its  review process for building and construction projects.
The California State Capitol in Sacramento. Some business and labor groups are pushing to change the Environmental Quality Act — specifically its review process for building and construction projects.

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

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

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

But Kathryn Phillips with Sierra Club California says legal options are what gives the law its power.

“The good thing and the bad thing about CEQA is it's citizen enforcement," she says. "If they start taking away litigation, how do they expect this thing to be enforced?”

There's no written legislation yet. But business groups say 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.