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
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the state’s premier environmental law, and was approved by California’s Legislature in 1970 in response to passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CEQA, like its federal counterpart, NEPA, stemmed from a growing desire among Americans to have government consider the environment when making decisions on various activities, policies and projects. CEQA established procedures state and local government agencies must follow to identify the environmental impacts of proposed government projects, and to find ways to avoid or mitigate those environmental impacts whenever feasible. The law further requires that agencies make those impact analyses available to the public, allowing the public to hold decision makers accountable and better protect the environment.
As straightforward as CEQA was intended to be, decades of litigation and subsequent case law have transformed the law into a morass of uncertainty for project proponents and agencies alike. Early on, for example, courts interpreted the measure to impose the same requirements on all private projects that require government approval, dramatically increasing the reach of the measure. In addition, the approval process has become quite lengthy and complex over time, and that complexity has created numerous openings for litigation, allowing opponents of projects to significantly delay approval and drive up the cost of development in the state.
Related Business Issues:
California Environmental Quality Act
Consumer Product Ingredient Regulation (Green Chemistry)
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.
Consumer Products Draft Regulations (Green Chemistry)
California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool
- 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).
- 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).
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