State Senate Unanimously Passes Steinberg’s CEQA Reform Bill
Yesterday the California Senate unanimously approved Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s bill to reform the California Environmental Quality Act, SB 731, which now goes to the Assembly for consideration and, hopefully, passage.
The 39-0 bipartisan vote on Senate Bill 731 was touted by the measure’s author, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, after Wednesday night’s session.
“We go into the Assembly with a lot of momentum,” Steinberg said.
Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, spoke in the support of the bill.
“I think everybody would agree that it’s not sweeping reform on one hand,” Berryhill said. “But on the other hand . . . it’s kind of the nature of this body that we incrementally move forward. And I think this bill does that.”
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/05/california-senate-unanimously-backs-changes-to-ceqa.html#storylink=cpy
The bill itself is a very strong bill that includes a lot of important provisions to help mass transit and passenger rail in California, including removing “aesthetics” from CEQA for residential and transit-oriented development. Concerns about aesthetics have nothing to do with environmental quality and it’s good that it will no longer be part of the law.
It’s a sort of anticlimactic vote given all the controversy and drama over CEQA reform in the last 9 months. That’s a testament to Steinberg’s hard work to forge consensus around some common sense ways to reduce carbon emissions and support important green projects without letting NIMBYs abuse CEQA to block them.
I don’t know how the bill will fare in the Assembly, but my guess is it will pass there too. The Senate was always going to be something of a harder fight.