California Environmental Impact Report Lawsuit Limitations Act (2010)

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An Environmental Impact Report Lawsuit Limitations Act (10-0008, 10-0009, 10-0010, 10-0011) did not qualify for the November 2, 2010 ballot in California as an initiated state statute.

Four different versions of the potential initiative were submitted to the Office of the Attorney General of California by Timothy L. Strader, Sr., on January 28, 2010. His working title for the initiative is the Jobs and Housing Act.

Text of measure

10-0008

Ballot title: Precludes Anyone Other than State Attorney General from Bringing a Lawsuit Challenging Sufficiency of Environmental Impact Report. Initiative Statute.

Official summary: Changes California law to preclude any person, city, county, or other entity, other than the state Attorney General, from bringing a lawsuit that alleges that an environmental impact report does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act because it fails to identify ways to minimize significant environmental effects, fails to offer alternatives to the proposed project, or fails to satisfy other legal requirements.

Estimated fiscal impact: Potential additional net costs for DOJ from increased CEQA litigation workload, likely not more than the low millions of dollars annually. Potentially significant savings or costs for state and local government litigation defense in CEQA cases. Unknown, but likely positive, net impact on state and local government revenues from increased economic activity. Unknown fiscal effect, if any, on state and local government costs to mitigate environmental effects of projects.

10-0009

Ballot title: Precludes Anyone Other than State Attorney General from Bringing a Lawsuit Challenging Sufficiency of Environmental Impact Report. Initiative Statute.

Official summary: Changes California law to preclude any person, city, county, or other entity, other than the state Attorney General, from bringing a lawsuit that alleges that an environmental impact report does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act because it fails to identify ways to minimize significant environmental effects, fails to offer alternatives to the proposed project, or fails to satisfy other legal requirements. Applies retroactively to currently pending actions.

Estimated fiscal impact: Potential additional net costs for DOJ from increased CEQA litigation workload, likely not more than the low millions of dollars annually. Potentially significant savings or costs for state and local government litigation defense in CEQA cases. Unknown, but likely positive, net impact on state and local government revenues from increased economic activity. Unknown fiscal effect, if any, on state and local government costs to mitigate environmental effects of projects.

Finding and declarations

The "Findings and Declarations" section of Proposal 10-0011 says:

(a) California families are suffering the effects of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

(b) Unemployment in California has reached a 70-year high, far above the national average.

(c) Job losses in the real estate and building industries are a major contributing factor. Nearly 25% of the two million unemployed Californians have lost jobs in construction, finance, real estate and industries related to construction.

(d) The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQ A) requires most major construction projects to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which must be certified by the government agency approving the project. The purpose of this report is to determine, among other things, whether the project would have a significant effect on the environment and whether changes in the project would avoid or reduce that effect.

(e) Once the EIR is certified by the government agency, the law permits any person to challenge it by filing a lawsuit. These types of lawsuits can take years to resolv~ and cost millions of dollars in legal fees.

(f) Projects are typically put on hold once a challenge is filed and it can take up to five years to fight the lawsuit. During this time, projects are suspended and thousands of jobs are lost.

(g) Hundreds of frivolous lawsuits, filed by individuals or groups seeking cash settlements have stalled many of the state's largest development projects, stopping job c~eation and raising the cost of housing throughout California.

(h) The Attorney General of California is the people's lawyer and has the ability to determine whether or not a legal challenges to a certified EIR is necessary to protect the environinent and the public's interest.

(i) Giving the Attorney General of California the exclusive right to challenge certified EIRs will put an end to hundreds of frivolous lawsuits, which stall job creation and drive up housing prices for California families.

(j) Analyzing global warming and the impacts of greenhouse gases emanating from individual projects subject to CEQ A will require the implementation of mitigation measures that are not attainable or feasible. This is so, because global warming is global in nature and because reductions from California will have no significant effect on global warming as currently there are no binding emissions controls on the developing world, including India and China. For these reasons, global warming and greenhouse gas analYSis should not be the basis on which an EIR may be invalidated.

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

Versions 10-0008 and 10-0009 were cleared for circulation on March 26, 2010 and given August 23, 2010 as their petition drive deadlines. 433,971 signatures are required for qualification purposes.

External links


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