And if the Governor, Legislature, and interest groups in Sacramento cannot come together to bring some sanity to frivolous CEQA lawsuits, there is always the hope that the courts will rein-them-in.

To that end, we are closely watching a new lawsuit filed on behalf of the Icon Group against the carpenters and laborers union claiming the unions file CEQA actions a play to force union labor on development projects and not out of concern for the environment.

Abuse of CEQA for labor negotiation purposes is a common complaint across the state but has come to broader attention in the Los Angeles area recently as it has been used on some popular high-profile projects.

In this case, the Icon Group is trying to redevelop a building that has sat vacant for 20 years, a former Montgomery Ward building in Panorama City.  The project has been significantly delayed, the Icon Group claims, because the two unions are trying to force the company to enter into a “Project Labor Agreement” which will dictate to the developer what subcontractors they can use and drive up costs while narrowing choices, and CEQA filings have been part of the pressure tactics.

Companies across the state are watching this lawsuit closely and hope this one may help clear this one area of CEQA abuse.  Click here for more information on what is happening with the project.

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