How California Environmental Law Makes It Easy For Labor Unions To Shake Down Developers
In a recent article for Reason magazine, Land Use Attorney Jennifer Hernandez discusses the growing scope of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Ms. Hernandez notes that CEQA was intended to be used to protect California's natural environment from state-sponsored development projects, but is rarely used for that purpose. CEQA now includes any building permit that has requirements beyond what is included in local zoning codes.
"This has made it a very, very powerful greenmail tool," Ms. Hernandez commented.
Ms. Hernandez added, "A group suing under CEQA doesn't need to have members in the community where the project is located. These groups can write a very standard [complaint]. 'Your traffic analysis is wrong. Your air analysis is wrong. You haven't provided enough detail about this or that.'"