Gutting CEQA for Telecoms and Tunnelers:
Following the California State Budget Crisis

Limiting citizens’ ability to raise CEQA challenges is the demand of certain legislators in exchange for their votes to allow a state tax extension ballot measure.

The California Environmental Quality Act is one tool that can be used, although only in limited circumstances, by citizens opposing wireless telecommunications towers and infrastructure proposals. California is on the brink, and legislators are trying to give a pass to telecommunications companies who can’t address public concerns about the safety, environmental, and health impacts of their technology and infrastructure. Is it safe to locate so much high-powered wireless transmission equipment in the high fire-hazard zones of Southern California? Are 24/7 microwaves emitted by cell towers contributing to the worldwide decline in bee populations, as some scientists believe? Are there really no harmful effects on humans from constant exposure to pulsed, digital microwave transmissions that enable our 3G and soon to be 4G networks?

CEQA is also important to community groups concerned about pollution, noise, and congestion from freeway projects like the proposed 710 tunnel. Gutting CEQA might give a pass to contractors eager for tunneling contracts who wouldn’t have to answer such questions as… What will the impacts of dirt movement and underground excavation be? Will exhaust vents for a six-mile tunnel cause higher particulate concentrations near receptors like schools and hospitals? How will more multi-lane freeways or tollways affect the region’s air pollution problem? What is the cost-benefit analysis?

Who are these legislators who don’t want us to ask these questions? According to the LA Times, which also obtained this link to the proposed CEQA amendments:

Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), who is negotiating with Brown alongside [Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet)], Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto), Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) and Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach).