LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce released the following statement from Joseph A. Czyzyk, 2011 Chair of the Board and Chairman & CEO, Mercury Air Group, Inc.:
From day one, I have made reform of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) a top priority during my term as the 2011 Board Chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. I was honored to have Governor Jerry Brown and many members of the State Legislature attend my Inaugural Dinner in early February where I said in my remarks: “First, to our friends here tonight in the State Legislature, you need to put the brakes on CEQA lawsuit abuse today. That’s right CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act has discouraged investments that create jobs in our City and State. We have to stop the gaming of our judicial system with multiple appeals. This has stopped development projects and jobs for years.”
Since then, the Chamber has worked nonstop to promote CEQA reform. Members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and I have met with Governor Brown on numerous occasions as well as his senior staff to discuss our ideas. CEQA plays an important role for California, but now is the time to seek reforms. AB 900 balances environmental protections with streamlining that will stop the gaming of our judicial system for projects that will generate significant economic benefit for California—this means real jobs for the citizens of California.
As AB 900 is debated today, I would ask the Legislature to consider allowing projects of a value of $50 million or more to be covered under this legislation. As the authors of the AB 900 recognize, with California’s unemployment in certain regions of the state exceeding 13 percent, we need development projects today for the creation of construction and permanent jobs.
The current threshold in AB 900 of projects valued at $100 million and higher leaves too many commercial projects in jeopardy of being subjected to judicial delays. The legislation’s 2015 sunset clause provides assurance to those that see AB 900 as weakening CEQA that once Californians are back to work, the rules re-set to today. In the meantime, let’s get $50 million projects moving and people employed.
I want to thank and acknowledge Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for his leadership on AB 900. I also want to thank my friend, State Senator Ted Lieu for co-sponsoring this legislation. Ted and I have had numerous conversations about the need for CEQA reform. As a former city councilman, Ted knows firsthand the important economic stimulus that development projects bring to a city and region. I hope others in the Senate and Assembly follow their lead and when passed, I ask the Governor to immediately sign AB 900.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.