CEQA Litigation: What The Numbers Show

There are proposals to weaken the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) now floating around Sacramento, based on the idea that CEQA litigation is flooding the courts and impeding good development projects.  So my colleagues and I decided to look at the pertinent data from the City of Los Angeles to see whether this idea holds water.

It doesn't.

Here is what we found.  We obtained a spreadsheet from the LA City Clerk's office showing all CEQA applications from January 2011 through July 20, 2012, with the dispositions if known.  This spreadsheet showed that 1,182 projects in the City received CEQA approvals in that time period. 

We also obtained from the State of California a list of CEQA cases filed during that time period with the City of Los Angeles listed as a defendant.  There are 18.

Bottom line, 18 cases out of 1,182 approved projects is a litigation rate of 1.5 percent. 

This is a trickle, not a flood.  There may be reasons to discuss CEQA reform, but the volume of CEQA litigation isn't one of them.