CEQA News & Updates

SF seeks to avoid environmental law to rebuild. So should every downtown in California | Opinion

By Tom Philp
March 23, 2024
The Sacramento Bee

Tom Philp

Tom Philp

A liberal San Francisco legislator believes that a key to urban revival in the post-COVID era is to suspend for a decade California’s premiere environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

State Sen. Scott Wiener’s bold proposal, however, isn’t for Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno or San Jose. Wiener’s Senate Bill 1227 would only remove this environmental regulation for a single downtown, which happens to be his: Downtown San Francisco. OPINION “I think a CEQA exemption makes a lot of sense to facilitate and accelerate the reimagining of downtown,” Wiener said. “Downtown San Francisco should have never been overwhelmingly office.”


San Francisco’s economic woes have nothing to do with CEQA: Commentary in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal

By Ruby Acevedo and Douglas P. Carstens
March 19, 2024

Ruby Acevedo and Douglas P. Carstens

The Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal, a news outlet for the California legal community, ran an insightful commentary pointing out the central flaw in a proposed CEQA exemption currently under consideration in Sacramento. Ruby Acevedo, a senior staff attorney at the environmental justice organization Communities for a Better Environment, and Douglas P. Carstens, board president of the Planning and Conservation League and managing partner of Carstens Black & Minteer LLP, argue that Senate Bill 1227, which would exempt from CEQA review most new development in San Francisco’s downtown, would not impact the real economic factors causing San Francisco’s economic woes, namely, high labor costs, elevated interest rates, and weakening demand for downtown real estate. They also elaborate on the public health and safety risks associated with the bill.


100+ organizations call on legislators, Governor to keep CEQA strong in 2024

January 30, 2024

More than 100 groups, representing a wide variety of environmental justice, land use and conservation organizations from across California, joined with CEQA Works to send a joint letter to California lawmakers and Governor Newsom, urging them to keep CEQA strong in 2024.


Stop scapegoating CEQA for California’s affordable housing crisis: Commentary in The Mercury News

By Jennifer Ganata and Douglas P. Carstens
December 16, 2023

Housing in San Diego 2023 was a big year for CEQA in the state legislature. Jennifer Ganata of Communities for a Better Environment and Doug Carstens of Planning and Conservation League wrote a guest commentary for The Mercury News that summarizes the attacks on CEQA that occurred last year, looks at threats to CEQA in the next legislative session, and addresses head-on the spurious criticisms of CEQA blocking affordable housing. In their opinion piece, Jen and Doug refute these criticisms and suggest some real solutions to California’s housing crisis.


Jennifer Ganata with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) delivers powerful testimony about the importance of CEQA to Little Hoover Commission

March 16, 2023

Jennifer Ganata

Jennifer Ganata

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent California state oversight agency, met in 2023 to consider potential reforms to CEQA. Commissioners heard from numerous professionals who work on CEQA-related issues and who traveled to Sacramento to speak about the importance of maintaining a strong CEQA to protect California’s economy, public health, and communities. There was also an outpouring of public comments in support of keeping CEQA strong. The commission has extended its examination of CEQA into 2024.

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