The building industry contends a 2011 law aiming to jump-start the economy by streamlining the state's environmental review process for development projects is failing to attract much interest because strict eligibility criteria prevents most projects from qualifying. Most housing, transportation and land-use project proponents say their projects are unable to qualify for the streamlining due to costly, stringent environmental mitigation criteria, sources said.
Industry groups are currently working with Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on "cleanup" legislation to broaden the scope of projects eligible for the law's benefits, but it is unclear whether agreements will be struck, sources said.
Meanwhile, draft guidelines by the governor's office to implement another 2011 law to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process for approving urban infill projects are also under fire from industry officials, who claim the guidelines will only allow the most environmentally friendly projects to qualify. If the state is serious about promoting more urban infill development, it should apply the CEQA streamlining and benefits to a broader scope of projects, industry officials say.
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