California’s Environmental Protection Laws Give Communities a Voice
The California Environmental Quality Act became law in 1970. It is an “environmental bill of rights” for all Californians. CEQA is designed to ensure that people in every California community can understand how land use decisions will impact their communities and health, and can hold public agencies accountable to local and state environmental and land use laws.
The California Environmental Quality Act:
- is the only state law that ensures the public has an opportunity to be informed about and participate in major land use decisions.
- gives communities a voice in shaping development in a way that supports quality of life by encouraging transit, bike, and pedestrian-friendly development.
- provides important public health protections by requiring agencies to explain to the public the air and water pollution that will be caused by major land use projects and to consider feasible measures to reduce these effects.
- ensures that developers pay for the environmental impacts of new construction.
Business Interests are Pushing the Legislature to Weaken CEQA
Business interests – including developers – are currently advocating for an overhaul of CEQA that would significantly weaken CEQA’s protections and severely limit communities’ right to learn about and comment on land use decisions.
While CEQA Works acknowledges there is room to improve our state’s environmental laws, the proposals being discussed in the legislature go too far – adding loopholes to exempt development projects and major polluting industries from real environmental review.