September 9, 2011 -- Professor Jonathan Zasloff and Sean Hecht, executive director of the Environmental Law Center, commented on the challenge to L.A.'s medicinal marijuana ordinance. Their comments appear in a Los Angeles Daily Journal article.
Challenges under CEQA have traditionally been used by environmental advocates and neighborhood groups to fight planned development. Recent attempts to use it to curb municipal regulations have been unsuccessful, according to Jonathan M. Zasloff, a UCLA School of Law professor specializing in land use and local government.
"The case law has become a little bit more forgiving of governments that are doing things that do not necessarily have a direct effect on the environment," he said.
Sean B. Hecht, a UCLA School of Law professor who studies CEQA law, said he perceives a trend of businesses invoking the law to protect their own interests.
"You see businesses that might be opposed to CEQA becoming its champions," he said.
Hecht pointed to a recent challenge to Manhattan Beach's plastic bag ban. Industry groups argued that alternatives could cause even more harm to the environment. The state Supreme Court rebuffed that argument and upheld the ban in July.
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