As previously reported, local NIMBY opposition has placed an indefinite delay on the Metrolink Perris Valley line extension when a judge tossed out the project's EIR over trivial concerns on May 16, 2013.
The Riverside County Transportation Commission had planned on discussing what the public agency was going to do at its 6/12/13 Commissioners board meeting. However, elected officials are not waiting around.
RCTC Chairwoman Karen Spiegel, Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, and City of Perris Mayor Daryl Busch met with members of the state legislature to lobby for an exemption of the rail line's trivial and construction-related environmental issues from the current legal loopholes in CEQA law. Local officials hope that the amendments would be made retroactive to the Perris Valley Line which would affect the judgement in favor of RCTC. As mentioned, US Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA 42nd District) also plans to work
with his federal colleagues and the state legislature.
The public officials' actions has built up pressure on the Friends of Riverside Hills, the organization behind the lawsuit, and its representatives are not happy about it. The group claimed that "it is a source of serious concern when public agencies view themselves
as being above the law, which is what this effort suggests." With all due respect, that statement is not true. The Founding Fathers of our nation established the separation of powers which gives concerned citizens--local elected leaders included--the right to communicate with their elected state representatives whose duty it is to write the law. What part of lobbying to the state legislature to close up CEQA loopholes in order to stop abuse goes above the law? Surely, such pressure groups know that force-advancing NIMBY agendas by exploiting loopholes in the law in the courts--a potential example of going above the law through judicial activism--would be a cause of concern by those who write the law.
To be fair, California needs to maintain its strong environmental laws which would control large developments, urban sprawl and pollution, but such law also needs to protect environmentally sound
projects from trivial CEQA litigation. State lawmakers are well aware of this. These are not good times for NIMBY pressure groups.