RE: "My turn: Don't blame environmental law for California’s housing crisis," Jan. 15, 2019.
Recent opinion authored by Ashley Warner, Don’t blame environmental law for California’s housing crisis, severely over simplifies the effect of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) upon the state’s housing crisis.
Ms. Warner lays out a naively simplistic scenario that suggests reforming CEQA would lead to environmental crises. In fact, homebuilders do not advocate for the abolition of CEQA but we do insist it must be reformed to more closely reflect the changes in law and the environment since the law was signed almost 50 years ago by Gov. Ronald Reagan.
Among those changes are more than 100 significant new landmark environmental laws and thousands of new environmental regulations. All too often, the law is used not to protect the environment but rather as a convenient tool to delay, halt and extort the production of homes for Californians.
CEQA has evolved into a morass beyond its original construct that absolutely adds to the high cost of housing and in fact at times prevents middle-class housing from being built.
Today’s crisis calls for collaboration and real solutions, and we’re pleased that Gov. Gavin Newsom is making housing a priority. The governor is substantially engaged in identifying the fixes California needs, including CEQA reform that appropriately balances the protection of the environment and expedited and more affordable construction of homes.
Dan Dunmoyer, president and chief executive officer of the California Building Industry Association