The Desert Sun reports on a pilot program to speed up the process of development of construction projects by exempting them from environment-related legal challenges. The plan was first introduced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to the paper. What a name for the program! It's called the "California Environmental Quality Act Litigation Protection Pilot Program."
Via the paper: "The California Environmental Quality Act Litigation Protection Pilot Program would allow the state's Business, Housing and Transportation Agency to identify 25 construction projects a year that would not be subject to legal challenges once the environmental impact reports are complete and approved. While supporters say the program would kick-start important road improvements, power plants or other construction efforts and create needed jobs, others say the plan undermines the chance for locals to voice their concerns in such projects."
Those against the proposal include Sierra Club California Director Bill Magavern, who says that only a tiny number of approved projects are legally challenged, and those developments are usually delayed by issues such as financing. And here's Michael Endicott, Sierra Club California's resource sustainability advocate: “They're using the wrong rationale here,” Endicott said. “They're using our economic emergency to undo our environmental standards. “ The city of Industry NFL stadium didn't have to go through an environmental impact process (and remember that the Gov. was at that ground-breaking), while lawsuits are also expected to slow down the construction of California's high-speed rail.
· Governor's plan would shield projects from lawsuit [Desert Sun]