CEQA Fireworks

Law360, New York (September 8, 2011, 1:41 PM EDT) -- The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) generally requires the execution of an often onerous environmental impact study, with associated comments, objections and litigation, before a public agency carries out or approves a “project,” meaning an “activity which may cause direct” or “reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.”

Given the pervasive requirements for government permits, licenses and certificates, for everything from marriage to little league field use, CEQA would be suffocating without a broadly applicable exception that imports a rule of reason into the law’s application. One such exception under CEQA excludes “ministerial,” as opposed to “discretionary,” approvals from regulation....

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