Despite being hailed as a climate policy leader, California looks to be carving out another exemption from its landmark environmental protection statute.
Due to the law known as CEQA — the California Environmental Quality Act, the state’s flagship public university system is unable to attract more students, particularly from the Golden State. CEQA is one of California’s top priorities.
According to CalMatters’ Mikhail Zinshteyn, the issue reached a climax on Thursday when the California Supreme Court rejected, by a vote of 4-2, to overturn a lower court judgment mandating UC Berkeley to reduce its autumn enrolment by up to 3,050 students.
As a result of the ruling, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, which claimed that UC Berkeley had violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by neglecting to create adequate housing to accommodate the city’s expanding student population, won.
It’s not finished yet, but UC Berkeley hopes to enroll many of those 3,050 students in online programs and deferred enrollment in the spring, the school said.
Gone is UC Berkeley’s enrollment cap, which Gov. Gavin Newsom personally requested the California Supreme Court overturned.
Attracting tomorrow’s leaders and making education more affordable are all values that Gov. Gavin Newsom and his team hold dear. However, UC’s most diverse freshman class will ever be shattered to maintain the status quo.”
Democrat Scott Wiener, who recently introduced a bill to exempt some campus housing developments from CEQA, used identical language.
It is unfortunate that California enables courts and environmental regulations to determine the number of students UC Berkeley and other public colleges can educate,” says Wiener.
Thousands of young people would suffer as a result of this decision since they will be deprived of several chances. Please, please don’t do that again. The law must be changed. As much as we can.
The desperation of other Democratic lawmakers was also evident: Assemblymember Kevin McCarty of Sacramento told Mikhail, “We’re on the case and mindful of the deadlines.” “We will work together to help the kids,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood said after meeting with UC President Michael Drake.
Republican candidates in last year’s recall election blamed CEQA for California’s housing problem, which has long been a bogeyman for Republicans.
Indeed, on Monday, the Pacific Research Institute released a paper claiming that CEQA is preventing housing, schools, infrastructure, and climate projects from being built.
“As a Cal graduate, it is unacceptable that a law to protect California’s environment might deprive thousands of kids of the opportunity to attend UC,” said Chris Carr, head of Paul Hastings LLP’s Environment and Energy Practice Group and co-author of the report.