Committee for Green Foothills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2007
Brian Schmidt, Legislative Advocate
phone (650) 968-7243 * firstname.lastname@example.org
Debacle, Environmentalists Say
The Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) alleged today that the “San Jose Process” of using developer-selected and developer-paid consultants for the city’s own environmental review is a systematic problem that resulted in the extensively criticized and withdrawn Coyote Valley Draft Environmental Impact Report. “Most other cities in the Bay Area have abandoned the practice of letting developers themselves select and hire the consultants to prepare the administrative draft versions of Environmental Impact Reports, but not San Jose,” said Brian Schmidt, Legislative Advocate for CGF. “The Coyote Valley Draft EIR only varied slightly from the usual San Jose Process where the City ‘adopted’ consultants previously hired by
In most Bay Area cities, when a developer applies for a permit that requires the city to do environmental review, the developer pays a fee and the city then uses the fee money to hire expert consultants to prepare the environmental report.
“The Coyote Valley EIR actually improved modestly on the usual San Jose Process, and still produced a completely inadequate analysis that had to be withdrawn,” Schmidt said. “In this case, the City took over from the developers earlier than it usually does, but even that didn’t fix the biased report. The only real difference between this EIR and what
The City received over 1300 pages of comments from agencies, non-profit organizations, and individuals. The widespread scrutiny and criticism led to the decision to withdraw, revise, and recirculate the Draft EIR.
Draft EIRs are the first version of the Environmental Impact Report circulated for public comments, and if not found to be significantly flawed, become the basis of the Final EIR. Administrative Draft EIRs are the initial versions of Draft EIRs that summarize and draw conclusions from the information found in the technical consultant reports on subjects such as impacts to air quality, traffic, and wildlife. Most cities require developers to pay a fee so the cities control all consultants involved in this process. The San Jose Process gives all control up to the Administrative Draft EIR to the developer. The extent to which the City even disputes developer bias is unknown as it all occurs behind the scenes, and the City has no right to access information created by consultants unless the developer allows it. For
In the mid-1990s, the
# # #
About the Committee for Green Foothills
Committee for Green Foothills is a regional grassroots organization working to establish and maintain land-use policies that protect the environment throughout