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Opinion

Readers React: Rich builders get around CEQA. That doesn’t meant the law should be scrapped

INGLEWOOD, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2018: From left: James Butts, Inglewood Mayor, Gerard McCall
L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer wants a build a new arena in Inglewood with the help of a environmental fast-track bill in the Legislature.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: If the rich and powerful get around the law by running to lawmakers, that just means they have too much access to our lawmakers. It doesn’t mean that the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, should be scrapped.

As columnist George Skelton recognizes, CEQA is an essential tool to protect the regular citizenry. In my experience as director of the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law, I’ve found CEQA to be one of the few tools left for the “little guys” to find out about public projects that waste money and refinery projects that pollute the air, water and soil.

Without CEQA, our clinic could not have stood up to refineries that would have illegally banked “pollution credits” so that they could bypass reducing pollution later. This is one of the reasons the California Supreme Court has over and over again recognized the value CEQA provides to Californians.

Helen Kang, Berkeley

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The writer is a professor of law at Golden Gate University.

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