SHERMAN OAKS, CA — The Valley Industry & Commerce Association’s (VICA) is proposing eight reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that would streamline the environmental approval process, create greater investment reliability for businesses and make compliance timelines more manageable.
“Since its passage, the business community has been working for reasonable CEQA reform,” said VICA Chair Daymond Rice. “The eight ideas VICA has introduced will take significant steps to keep CEQA from hurting the state’s economic recovery.” VICA proposes the following CEQA reforms (**complete position paper available upon request**):
1. Simplify the approval process for projects that are deemed necessary for economic revival and sustained economic health.
2. Grant expedited processing to projects designed to comply with existing environmental regulations.
3. Ensure once is a project is entitled that it is subject only to the laws in effect on the date of entitlement.
4. Develop adequate definitions for vague terminology in CEQA that lawmakers will incorporate into CEQA through legislation.
5. Require that all environmental analyses be entitled to the benefits of the substantial evidence test when challenged, to help prevent frivolous lawsuits.
6. Require plaintiffs to prove substantial environmental concern over economic gain in the project’s stall or failure.
7. Require the petitioner to pay the lead agency for preparation of the administrative record upon submission of challenge.
8. Make petitioners liable for frivolous and meritless lawsuits by requiring the applicant plaintiffs, if unsuccessful, to compensate lead agency defendants and the real parties in interest that generally indemnify them.
“The economic climate we live in now is much different that it was when CEQA was passed,” said VICA President Stuart Waldman. “VICA’s reform package considers the changes that have taken place while balancing the state’s economic and environmental needs.” Check out www.vica.org for more information.