March 24, 2011
Exploiting the hardships caused by the economic climate and the state budget crisis, special interests are redoubling their efforts to pass legislation that would dismantle the Golden State’s premiere environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Developers and business groups are spinning California’s high rates of unemployment to claim an inherent conflict between job creation and the protection of our environment and public health.
Individuals and organizations concerned about the public’s health and well-being, the environment and good government must push back this dangerous new wave of attacks on CEQA. We need your voice and action to help defend the rights of Californians and protect our environment.
The GOP Five are holding the budget hostage, demanding major concessions to CEQA that weaken the environmental and public health protections. Governor Brown needs to hear from you TODAY.
In February, Senator Canella introduced SB 241—a measure that would allow 125 projects to receive immunity from CEQA. Now he is working as part of the GOP Five on a more sweeping proposal attempting to attack CEQA from all angles.
4 THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW:
- Stop the GOP Five — get a message to Governor Brown TODAY — Email, write or call Speaker Perez and Governor Brown to oppose measures that rollback the public health and environmental protections in CEQA. Use the sample letter below for your message.
Speaker John Perez: 916-319-2046 fax 916-319-2146 or email@example.com
Governor Jerry Brown: 916-445-2841 fax 916-558-3160 or http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php
- Email, write or call your state representatives, urging them to oppose bill SB 241 (Canella) and similar proposals. Let them know why CEQA is important to the health & well-being of their constituents; if possible, mention a development in their district that was improved by CEQA and/or one that runs the risk of being added to the list of 125 projects exempted from CEQA. A sample letter is provided below.
To find the name & contact information for your Assembly member and Senator go to the following website; search by address or zip code. You may have to call their district offices for email addresses. http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html.
For examples of how Californians have benefited from CEQA go to: calheroes.com
- Write a letter to your local newspaper. Let readers know why CEQA should not be weakened.
- Educate and mobilize your friends, family and organizations to take action. Distribute this action alert to your network. Individuals and groups that are concerned about your community’s well being should be motivated to defend CEQA.
For more information or to receive regular updates about this campaign contact: Jena Price with the Planning and Conservation League at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-313-4508.
Sample Letter of Opposition to CEQA Rollbacks
We are working to track the impact we have. Please send a copy of your letter to email@example.com
The Honorable Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Oppose rollbacks to CEQA
Dear Senator or Assembly Member (Last Name):
I am writing to express my opposition to SB 241 (Canella) as well as other similar and destructive measures attempting to rollback our fundamental environmental protections. These bills and proposals seek to undermine the ability of my community to participate in decisions that determine how our neighborhoods will grow. The legislation eliminates our ability to hold developers accountable for putting measures in place to reduce or avoid a development project’s negative environmental impacts.
NOTE: Customize your letter with local examples of: 1) how CEQA was used to improve a project or protect the community from environmental hazards and 2) controversial projects that would be given immunity from CEQA. The next paragraph has examples that are relevant to the 44th Assembly District:
It is likely that the proposed tunnel to extend the 710 Freeway would be added to the list of 125 projects that would be given a pass from the necessary scrutiny that ensures the right projects are built in the right location. And, without strong CEQA protections, your constituents would not have been able to hold the developer of 24 luxury homes on Elephant Hill accountable for conducting additional environmental review after it was found that he had expanded the footprint of his project post-final approval and new evidence of an underground stream came to light after the original environmental impact report was approved.
The California Legislative Analysts’ Office has indicated that there is no evidence to support the kinds of arguments used by the proponents of these bills. In fact, there are very few CEQA lawsuits and there has not been any study of CEQA’s economic impact on business statewide.
For the past 40 years, community involvement in the environmental review process has improved proposed projects, reducing a project’s significant adverse impacts to public health and the environment, while improving our quality of life. These bills would allow a select number of projects to avoid public scrutiny. These bills erode California’s legacy of environmental protection. Therefore, I urge you to oppose these bills in the interest of your constituents and their health and well-being.
Title (if applicable)
Address & phone number (if not on letterhead)