I would agree that the LEED Green Associate credential should be fairly open, although I think some limits like those in place make sense. So far I haven't heard specific cases of individuals being unfairly denied.
Shriram, can you explain why the individuals you're referring do don't qualify? If they're in the building industry and have anything to do with sustainability (and it sounds like they do) they should be fine. Have they actually been denied by GBCI?
By the way, we have a webinar recording that discusses LEED GA exam prep and eligiblity.