Transit Talking Points by: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
Fair and fact-driven individuals now have stronger case of why state environmental law needs reform. The epidemic of trivial lawsuits blocking in-fill residential development and transit projects have long been obstructing innovative progress to make the planet cleaner and are thus hurting the environment. Why does the state legislature allow this to continue?
This blog has documented several examples of such abuse. This includes the suit against the Perris Valley Line extension and the development of a badly-needed community college campus in Wildomar. Now we have even more to add:
will open the door to more CEQA lawsuits. To be clear, if any segment of the proposed routing will in fact cause grave damage to ecosystems or habitats, I have no problem with that section being challenged. But several of these suits are driven by the greed of power, not to protect Mother Earth.
obstructed by trivial cases, again enabled by broken CEQA law.
Add to that, CEQA madness at LAX which has had its $5 billion transit plan taken to court by a private parking lot company not to look out after pollution and traffic congestion in the area, but because connecting a train line to LAX would hurt the pay-to-park industry. That's because the plan prohibits shuttles from entering into to the terminal area and instead use the ground transit hub. Loopholes in the law have enabled these lot companies to build up a legal argument against improving mass transportation infrastructure in the name of the environment. To be fair, the industry has a valid argument, but to force their interest above the public's through CEQA is abusive.
I can go on for days talking about other trivial cases, but enough. This is more proof that CEQA needs reform. We need strong environmental law that will protect the planet from polluters, no question. We need to maintain an impartial means to challenge projects in court that don't comply to law, no question. But we also need policies where environmentally friendly projects are not subject to environmental suits just because somebody opposes or competes with their industry.
Two laws that would potentially stop this are: 1. CEQA reform as mentioned above. 2. State law where if somebody files a lawsuit that is found to be frivolous, the judge can order the suing party to pay for 100% of the court costs plus the defendent's attorney bill.
It's long past time for Californians to stop accepting this abuse of the law which is damaging the environment--California can't build the bullet train, LA Metro can't expand its rail lines, LAX can't install a peoplemover line, infill developers can't expand housing on developed land--all in the name of the environment? This is all a bunch of nonsense, and it has to stop.