Artesia, Calif. – The Southern California Partnership for Jobs, an organization representing 2,750 construction firms and more than 90,000 union workers today announced its determination that California Senate Bill 307 (Roth) is an “Infrastructure and Jobs Killer”. SB 307, which is opposed by organized labor, major business organizations, local government groups and community organizations, would create an end-run around the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), forcing additional lengthy state review of infrastructure projects after they’ve already completed CEQA and the state and local permitting process.
“While the sponsors of SB 307 have claimed they are only trying to pause a particular water project, we have deep concerns about the negative impacts of this legislation on all projects in California,” said Southern California Partnership for Jobs Executive Director John Hakel. “SB 307 is already being used by opponents of infrastructure to call for additional reviews of infrastructure projects we support. Our members believe we must act to stop this bill, before it kills the projects and jobs California needs to uplift and support our diverse communities and families.”
SB 307 has been presented by its proponents as “the Cadiz bill,” because it would add new state permitting for the Cadiz Water Project, a Southern California water supply project that will create a new sustainable water supply for 400,000 people. Construction was expected to create and support up to 6,000 jobs, including union jobs, family-supporting jobs and 600 jobs reserved specifically for returning veterans. Cadiz completed the public review, approval, and CEQA process in 2012, and then successfully defended the Project in California Courts against 12 separate lawsuits challenging its environmental review and approval. By 2017, the Cadiz Project had undergone nearly a decade in California’s lengthy approval process, and the Project was preparing to move forward to construction. However, in the summer of 2018, a State Senator whose district does not even include the Cadiz Project began targeting it with legislation requiring new, broad review and approvals by agencies with no previous experience or authority over such projects.
If enacted, SB 307 would set a dangerous precedent of creating an additional review process for projects already reviewed under CEQA, modifying the state’s known permitting process and removing the legal assurances that infrastructure projects need in order to move forward in a timely manner. CEQA is already considered the nation’s “gold standard” for environmental review and is an important part of California’s already lengthy and thorough project review and approval process. “Adding additional, undefined and uncertain reviews post-CEQA is unnecessary and could send much-needed projects into a ‘black hole’ of endless environmental review,” according to Hakel. “Any infrastructure project that has opponents, including those funded by monies from Senate Bill 1, ‘the Road Repair and Accountability Act’, would be at-risk of similar targeting and delay.”
“We were hopeful the bill’s author would accept reasonable amendments that would prevent harm to our regional economy, job creation and the infrastructure approval process,” added Hakel. “In the absence of such compromise, we have no choice but to take our concerns directly to the people of California. They need to know how much harm this bill will cause.”
SB 307 recently passed out of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee before it can move to the floor for full consideration. To learn more about the bill, visit our website at rebuildsocal.org.
For more information on the Southern California Partnership for Jobs campaign against SB 307, contact Executive Director John Hakel at 562-483-2044.