On Thursday February 25, The Center for Creative Land Recycling partnered with the Bay Area law firm Holland & Knight for a fantastic discussion of H&K's newly published report, "In the Name of the Environment"—a comprehensive study of recent lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and recommended reforms. More than thirty people from across the Bay Area came to hear from H&K's Jennifer Hernandez on the key findings of the study, and the author's suggestions on how to curtail further litigation abuse. Thank you to all who attended and made the event such a success! Look out for more amazing events hosted by CCLR in celebration of our 20th Anniversary!
Download the slide deck HERE.
Download a free copy of the report HERE.
Among the study's key findings:
• CEQA litigation is not a battle between “business” and “enviros” – 49 percent of all CEQA lawsuits target taxpayer-funded projects with no business or other private sector sponsors.
• Projects designed to advance California’s environmental policy objectives are the most frequent targets of CEQA lawsuits: transit is the most frequently challenged type of infrastructure project, renewable energy is the most frequently challenged type of industrial/utility project, and housing (especially higher density housing) is the most frequently challenged type of private sector project.
• Debunking claims by special interests that CEQA combats sprawl, the study shows that infill projects are the overwhelming target of CEQA lawsuits. For infill/greenfield projects, 80 percent are in infill locations, and only 20 percent are in greenfield locations.
• CEQA litigation is overwhelmingly used in cities, targeting core urban services such as parks, schools, libraries and even senior housing.
• Sixty-four percent of those filing CEQA lawsuits are individuals or local “associations,” the vast majority of which have no prior track record of environmental advocacy. CEQA litigation abuse is primarily the domain of Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) opponents and special interests such as competitors and labor unions seeking non-environmental outcomes.
Photo courtesy of Diana Robinson