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CEQA Reform

 

Background

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is California’s landmark environmental law. While CEQA does not directly regulate land uses, it does require state and local agencies to follow a protocol of analysis, public disclosure and mitigation of potential impacts for every proposed project.

In recent years, CEQA has come under attack for hindering efforts to increase infill, transit-oriented development, bicycle plans, and affordable housing, amongst other things. In 2013, ClimatePlan teamed up with the Planning and Conservation League and Greenbelt Alliance to pull together a dialogue of diverse stakeholders – everyone from infill builders to environmental justice champions – to discuss the relationship between CEQA and infill development. In July, we submitted a letter to Governor Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg, and Assembly Speaker Perez which outlined our consensus recommendations for CEQA.

In October 2013, SB 743 was signed into law. SB 743 eliminates traffic congestion and its proxy, Level of Service (LOS), as the focus of CEQA’s transportation analysis. This is great news for bike lanes, bus rapid transit, and infill projects that are essential strategies for healthier, greener communities.

But this provision won’t take effect immediately. First, the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) must develop a new methodology to replace traffic and LOS. This methodology must “promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses.”

In August, OPR released a preliminary discussion draft of updates to the CEQA Guidelines implementing SB 743. Click here to read the discussion draft. Comments are due by October 10th, 2014 to CEQA.Guidelines@ceres.ca.gov. Check out our ClimatePlan blog for future updates on our efforts to ensure SB 743 is implemented to benefit sustainable communities.

Resources

- Watch a video from California Forward: Time for California to Get on the CEQA Reform Bus?

 

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