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West Sacramento News-Ledger

State Violated Environmental Laws in $1.2 Billion Capitol Annex Project

Nov 03, 2022 12:00AM ● By Perry Communications Group News Release

Substantive changes were made to the Capitol Annex Project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR), resulting in violations to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). MPG file photo

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – Save Our Capitol! issued on October 31, 2022, the following statement regarding the matter of Save Our Capitol! vs. California Department of General Services (DGS) and Joint Committee on Rules of the California State Senate and Assembly (JRC):

“By failing to recirculate the Capitol Annex Project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) after making substantive changes, DGS and JRC violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a statute which implements a statewide policy of environmental protection. The substantive changes included:

Relocating the underground parking garage from the south side of the Capitol to the east side; Destroying approximately twice as many trees as were initially identified; Expanding the project’s boundary; and, Designing the new Annex with a wholly incompatible and dangerous glass exterior.

“Recirculation was required due to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) expanding the Project’s boundary beyond 12th Street and more than doubling the 20-30 trees that the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (RDEIR) represented would be removed, revealing that the project would affect an estimated 133 trees. DGS and JRC failed to prove how expanding the Project’s boundary and doubling the number of trees to be removed from the historic Capitol Park would not exacerbate a significant environmental impact, in violation of CEQA.

“Because the changes to the project scope include new and/or exacerbating impacts and a new unstudied alternative that would reduce impacts to historic resources, additional review by the decisionmakers and the public of the EIR was required. Yet, DGS and JRC did not recirculate the EIR, instead choosing to deprive the public and responsible agencies of their right to review and comment on the Project’s true impacts to the Capitol Complex.

“As stated in our appeal, there is no urgency to proceed with the unvetted Capitol Annex Project which disregards CEQA’s requirement of transparency and its protections for the public interest.”

A hearing on the case before the Third Appellate District is scheduled for November 14, 2022.

The purpose of Save our Capitol! is to preserve the site of the historic Capitol and its surrounding Park as the center and symbol of Californians’ right to truth, transparency, and trust in self-governance. Follow Save Our Capitol! on Twitter and act to #StopTheDemolition by visiting www.saveourcapitol.org.

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