How environmental law is misused to stop housing

In summary

Two recent appellate court cases underscore the chaotic role that the California Environmental Quality Act plays in construction of much-needed housing.

It’s well known that the California Environmental Quality Act, signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1970 and meant to protect the natural environment in public and private projects, is routinely misused to stop or delay much-needed housing construction.

Anti-housing NIMBYs in affluent communities misuse it to stymie high-density, multi-family projects, arguing that their neighborhoods’ bucolic ambience would be altered. And construction unions misuse it to extract wage concessions from developers.

It’s a long-running civic scandal and a major factor in California’s chronic inability to reduce its severe housing shortage, one that cries out for CEQA reform, which former Gov. Jerry Brown once described as “the Lord’s work.” But neither Brown or any other recent governor has

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