This piece was originally published on the California Economic Summit blog.
The California Environmental Quality Act, commonly referred to as CEQA, was enacted in 1970, to ensure that state and local agencies assessed the environmental impacts of their projects, and to mitigate the negative consequences if feasible. Over time, the law has evolved into an extensive public planning requirement that applies to nearly all projects.
Environmentalists say CEQA is a necessary defense against development and urban sprawl that would harm the ecosystem. On the other hand, developers and business leaders often see the law as excessive red tape and regulations that cause delays and increase construction costs.
Is it time to reform the 42 year old law? No matter how you see it, CEQA draws some heated debate.