Viewing blog posts written by Ashley Hong

California's environmental litigation is a job killer

Posted by Ashley Hong, Policy Intern on Nov. 23, 2011

For those who doubt that litigation risk in California is a job killer, I recommend that you read a November 14 piece in the Los Angeles Times, “Firms turning to environmental law to combat rivals.”

This blog will serve as my public letter to the editor.  The one I sent was not placed.

Here's a portion of the article:

Environmental advocates say the focus on why groups use CEQA is misplaced. "You shouldn't really be looking at motivations of petitioners," said Doug Carstens, an environmental lawyer in Santa Monica who often files CEQA complaints. "Even if it's a solely economically motivated actor, if they're promoting transparency, good government, why not?"


It’s shameful that a California lawyer endorses the idea that lawsuits to enforce environmental laws can be “solely economically motivated.”  The impact of this goes way beyond the sheer number of lawsuits and the size of awards and settlements - Companies spend uncounted millions to protect themselves against such litigation, with no environmental benefit. These are dollars that could be spent on expansions, modernization, and innovation to create new jobs.

The evidence is in – we are losing investment and employment to other states that are not hindering employers with costly litigation. Data from Site Selection Magazine shows that California is among the worst in the country in new manufacturing facilities and expansions, averaging only two percent of the country's new growth in the last decade.  

Further, a recent study, commissioned by City Journal, used the National Establishment Time Series database to reveal the scope of California's problems -- "snuffed-out start-ups, unproductive big cities, poorer jobs, and tinier, weaker, or fleeing companies."  One key statistic from the study: California had a net loss of 260,000 jobs from start-ups and closures in the last decade.  In the 90's, we had a net gain of 776,000.


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Don't let legal challenges interfere with AB 32 goals

Posted by Ashley Hong, Policy Intern on Aug. 8, 2007

The state budget has not been finalized, in part because many Senate Republicans want to resolve the growing problem of challenges under California Environmental Quality Act for greenhouse gas emissions analysis and mitigation.  We don't know how legislators and the Governor will settle the matter, but the problem is real and urgent.

CMTA and other associations involved in the AB 32 Implementation Group are interested in seeing that California's landmark law to cap greenhouse gas emissions is appropriately implemented. That includes developing regulations between now and 2012 that will cover emissions up and down the state. The challenge is that AB 32 directs the California Air Resources Board -- the state's air quality experts -- to develop the greenhouse gas reduction plan based on cost-effectiveness and technological feasibility.  In addition, regulations must be developed out in the open with public hearings, testimony from all stakeholders and the deliberative process that California requires of all major regulations.

As provided in AB 32, we want CARB to develop greenhouse gas regulations before we impose, under authority of CEQA, project-by-project requirements that could delay or stall manufacturing, major infrastructure and housing projects.  Of course, all other requirements of CEQA would remain in place and be complied with pending regulations or guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions.  No rules or guidelines now exist in CEQA for how to conduct greenhouse gas emission analyses for public and private projects. As important as climate change policies are, we should take the time to do it right as provided by AB 32. 

Tags: AB 32 CEQA

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