Environmental Regulation

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CEQA Reform Efforts Continue

The California Chamber of Commerce has long suppored reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that preserve the original intent of the law — environmental protection — while stamping out certain abuses that allowed the law to be used for non-environmental reasons.

A broad coalition of business, labor, clean technology companies, schools, hospitals, transportation, local government, affordable housing and other groups have long been advocating for CEQA reform. The coalition continues to call on the Legislature to modernize the Act given the myriad of other environmental laws and regulations that exist in California. 

Read the August 22, 2012 Top Story 

Overview

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), passed in 1970, is an extraordinarily complex and all-encompassing environmental law. CEQA and its multitude of substantive and procedural requirements are implicated for nearly every type of land use project in the State of California, including, but not limited to, housing and mixed-use developments, mining operations, renewable energy facilities, as well as zoning amendments, general plan updates, and regional transportation plans.

Unlike its federal counterpart—the National Environmental Protection Act—CEQA contains a substantive mandate that prevents public agencies from approving projects with potentially significant environmental impacts if there are feasible mitigation measures that would eliminate or substantially lessen those impacts. In addition to its substantive mandate, CEQA contains comprehensive procedural requirements. The cornerstone of CEQA’s procedural requirements is public participation. CEQA provides the public with ample opportunity to review and comment on the environmental document beginning from its draft stage, all the way through the day on which the final environmental document is certified. In discussing the significant role of public participation in the CEQA process, the California Supreme Court has stated that CEQA “protects not only the environment but also informed self-government.”
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Related Business Issues:
Proposition 65

Goals

Oversee issues related to the environment, such as air quality, climate change and AB 32 implementation, hazardous and solid waste, and land use issues. Recommend policies that meet the mutual objectives of protecting human health and the environment while conserving the financial resources of business to the fullest extent possible in order to help California businesses grow and promote their technologies/services.

Regulations

Proposition 65: Pre-Regulatory Draft Regulations

Consumer Products Draft Regulations (Green Chemistry)

California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool

Major Victories

  • Halted new double penalties for most air/environmental citations at facilities in disadvantaged regions of the state (AB 1330);

  • Supported bills making a start toward California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform by exempting roadway projects and bike lanes in existing roadways from the CEQA process (AB 890, AB 2245).

  • Halted expensive unnecessary regulatory burdens, such as an expanded waste bureaucracy in 2010 (AB 479, AB 737) and a 2012 vote rejecting a ban on the use of polystyrene foam food containers (SB 568); and in 2013 an expansion of reasons to sue under the California Environmental Quality Act (SB 617, SB 754).

  • Supported four bills signed into law in 2010 that will lead to increased construction jobs by streamlining the California Environmental Quality Act process for certain projects (AB 1846); authorizing use of design-build by the Riverside County Transportation Commission (AB 2098); creating construction jobs building travel infrastructure (SB 1192); and ensuring expedited permitting of environmentally sound solar thermal projects (SBX3 34). 

Issue Summaries

Environmental Justice
Position: The CalChamber is concerned that CalEnviroScreen will be misused to assert that specific businesses are the cause of pollution and health problems, and to justify changes to the way state and local agencies regulate these businesses. While we believe CalEnviroScreen is useful in helping to identify communities that may benefit from state and private investment, it can reflect only certain socioeconomic statistics, health care usage and the location of certain pollution sources, not whether those sources pose a risk to the community. Environmental Justice

Green Chemistry Regulations
Position: The California Chamber of Commerce supports the goals of the Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) to significantly reduce adverse impacts to human health and the environment. To this end, the CalChamber encourages the development of a regulatory system that fulfills the legislative objectives of the GCI legislation. Green Chemistry Regulations

Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)
Position: The California Chamber of Commerce, in keeping with longstanding policy, supports increasing California’s in-state energy production capability. Increasing in-state production capability will decrease the cost not only of fuel, but of manufacturing and agricultural operations, public transportation, and all goods and services that are energy-dependent. This will, in turn, place our businesses at a competitive advantage and improve job growth throughout the state. Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)

Related Top Stories

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Policy Contact

Anthony SamsonAnthony Samson
Policy Advocate
Environmental Regulation
Housing and Land Use

 

 

 

 

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