Will California’s Misused Environmental Law Finally Be Reformed?

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been weaponized in conflicts over housing for years, and a new appellate court decision affecting UC Berkeley has once again revived talk about reforming the landmark law. But how far are Newsom and the Legislature willing to go?

CEQA’s use, or misuse, as a weapon in the state’s perpetual battles over housing has been well documented. Opponents of housing projects in their neighborhoods use it to stall construction and labor unions use it to leverage developers into agreements to use union workers.

The Legislature has been willing to exempt specific projects, such as sports arenas, from the CEQA process, as well as some narrow categories of housing. But the broad reform that CEQA’s critics say is necessary has long been a non-starter.

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