Calif. groups worry over environmental law reform

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A coalition of business, housing and local government leaders says a plan to rewrite California's landmark environmental law could lead to more, not fewer, lawsuits.

The influential group outlined its concerns to Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento in a letter obtained by The Associated Press. It includes the California Chamber of Commerce and the Southern California Association of Governments.

Steinberg is trying to rewrite the state's Environmental Quality Act, which critics say has been abused to block projects and gain costly concessions from developers.

Steinberg's measure, SB731, aims to reduce litigation and the resulting delays. But the coalition says the bill would create new requirements that would lead to meritless lawsuits.

Steinberg's spokesman says the senator is hopeful the Legislature will approve changes this year.

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