Legal exploitation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for purposes unrelated to environmental protection continues unabated throughout California, according to an article in the November 14 Los Angeles Times (“Firms Turning to Environmental Law to Combat Rivals”). This news is 25 years old, but it’s always good to see the news media remind people about the practice whenever a newly outrageous example erupts.
Not surprisingly, the article mentions how construction unions use CEQA to block permits for projects until the developers agree to force their contractors to sign project labor agreements (PLAs): “It also has become a weapon in battles between rival developers or builders and labor unions… One coalition of labor groups that advocates for environmental improvements in projects has drawn criticism because it also seeks agreements that developers employ union members.”
That “coalition of labor groups” is California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE), which is notorious for blocking permits at the California Energy Commission for power plants and other energy infrastructure projects until the developer agrees to require its construction contractors to sign a project labor agreement.
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced a bill (Assembly Bill 598) that would limit standing to file and maintain an action or proceeding under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exclusively to the state’s elected Attorney General, thus giving accountability and authority to the executive branch to implement the law for its original intent of legitimate environmental protection.