Government Plays By Different Set Of Environmental Regulation Rules Than The Private Sector

(November 30)   While project proponents who come before city and county government are required to obtain environmental certification for their projects as part of the local governmental approval process, government-sponsored projects experience far less in the form of red tape when it comes to obtaining clearance to proceed.
Cases in point were six county projects given go-ahead in one fell swoop by the county board of supervisors earlier this month.
The major environmental regulation hoops project proponents, builders and developers are made to jump through are those contained in the California Environmental Quality Act, known by its acronym CEQA. The California Environmental Quality Act calls for developers of projects of any significant size to undertake an environmental impact report for their contemplated projects, entailing an expensive examination of the project that is compiled in draft form and then offered to the public for review, particularly those living near where the project is to be completed. The report must catalog the range of effects and impacts, together with measures to be taken to mitigate those impacts. The review of the tentative report allows the adequacy of those measures to be considered by the public and lead agency for the project.
Such is the case of projects proposed by the private sector. In the public sector, however, extensive regulations experienced by private developers are not applied as stringently. The need for an environmental impact report on public projects is often waived by the governing board of the governmental agency proposing a project within its own jurisdiction.
On November 6, county public works director  Gerry Newcombe asked and received six such waivers from the county board of supervisors. The request was so routine that it was not deemed at all controversial and was placed on the board of supervisors’ consent calendar at that week’s meeting. The multiple items on the consent calendar are deemed non-controversial and are agendized together for approval   on a single vote.
Upon Newcombe’s recommendation, the board found that  the reconstruction project on Bellflower Street, between Mojave Drive and Cactus Road, in the Adelanto area;  the rehabilitation and reconstruction project on Slover Avenue, between Cedar Avenue and Cactus Avenue, in the Bloomington area; the rehabilitation and reconstruction project on National Trails Highway, from Vista Road to one mile north, in the Oro Grande area; the raised median project on Cedar Avenue, between El Rivino Road and Jurupa Avenue, in the Bloomington area; the rehabilitation and reconstruction project on Bear Valley Cutoff, between Joshua Road and State Highway 18, in the Apple Valley area; and the median project on Valley Boulevard, from Locust Avenue to Spruce Avenue, in the Bloomington area are all exempt under the California Environmental Quality Act, Class 1 exemption, Section 15301c.

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