LA Times Op-Ed Laments CEQA Abuse that Stopped SCIG
In an op-ed published today in the Los Angeles Times, former columnist Jim Newton, who has tracked the project for years, lamented the unfortunate way in which the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was abused to keep SCIG from being built.
He notes, "[Judge] Goodes' ruling will have a negative effect on the region's environment, if not the neighborhood's. Today, many trucks that pick up cargo at the port trundle their loads 24 miles up the 710 freeway to deposit them at a rail station. If the switching yard were built, those trucks would instead travel less than four miles. BNSF estimates the new yard would eliminate 1.5 million truck trips a year up and down the freeway. And since those trips cause traffic and air pollution, the project would reduce both."
He also recognizes the unfortunate broader impact of rulings like this: "Imagine if you were considering an addition to your home and were told it would take a fortune and more than a decade just to determine whether you would be allowed to build it. Would you go forward?"
Finally, he concludes, "the BNSF case is a powerful reminder that CEQA, for all its protective qualities, can work against the public interest as well as for it."
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