Today Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation giving Majestic Realty a full exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), allowing them to push ahead with the construction of a 75,000-seat stadium in the City of Industry. AB X3 81, authored by Assemblymember Isadore Hall, allows Majestic and Industry to sidestep the current lawsuit filed against the project and proceed without adequately addressing environmental impacts.
The bill, introduced in the last hours of the 2009 legislative session, quickly passed through the Assembly. Senate pro tem Darrell Steinberg initially held the measure in an effort to resolve the legal challenges outside the legislature. When that failed last week the senate capitulated and passed the bill.
With this measure, the governor and both houses of the legislature have suggested – for the first time – that they will interfere with active court cases, and deny citizens’ groups their due process rights, if developers have enough money to hire lobbyists. Though this legislation sets a dangerous example, it cannot become a precedent. Developers must not be allowed to purchase CEQA exemptions and sidestep laws that exist to protect every Californian.