07/02/2022

Should California Make Changes to Landmark 1970 Law?

Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act in 1970, a monumental year for the nation’s environmental movement. That was the year the nation first celebrated Earth Day and that President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
NEPA and the CEQA have some similarities, but California’s law is far broader and more powerful. The federal law only requires reviews of projects receiving federal funding or approval by federal agencies. CEQA applies to all public and private projects that have received state or local approval.

Over the years, supporters and detractors have debated the law’s flaws and benefits, and in response, the Legislature has tweaked the statute several times. But Gov. Jerry Brown has elevated the issue by declaring that he wants a major modification of the statute in this year’s legislative session.

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