Construction near University of Southern California. (Photo Credit: John Guenther)
What to do about California’s 43-year-old California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a question that is intensifying in the State Capitol.
Senator Michael Rubio, a Democrat from Bakersfield, is chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and he is leading the effort at modernizing CEQA.
Not all of his colleagues are happy about this. One prominent Democratic state senator thinks there are more important issues than CEQA, the state’s transportation and education systems to name two. But Senator Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa isn’t sitting idly by. She likes the CEQA law–a lot. And she says she is alarmed by some of the rhetoric that she’s been hearing thus far.
“The first thing is to do no harm,” she told CAeconomy. “We don’t want to gut CEQA and we don’t want to streamline the public out of the process.” Evans added that people who want to change the law aren’t real clear about what they want to do, which she said, makes her and other supporters “nervous.”
Senator Evans recently co-authored a defense of the law with Assembly member Das Williams in the Capitol Weekly.
Senator Evans understands that despite her concerns the CEQA law is going to be scrutinized this year. While she would rather it be left alone, she does have some thoughts about things that can be done to strengthen the law:
CEQA modernization is one of the seven signature initiatives adopted by the first California Economic Summit to improve job creation in California and to strengthen the state’s ability to compete in today’s global economy.
CEQA in the 21st Century — a series of news stories and individual perspectives designed to educate and spark dialogue on CEQA as the California Legislature revisits the role the environmental law will play in the future of our economy.