California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
The most powerful environmental law in the state: giving voice to Californians to create livable communities.
What is CEQA?
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is California’s premier environmental and public process law. CEQA gives people the ability to voice their input on land use projects and requires applicants to do their fair share to protect California’s environment and our communities. By requiring discretionary land use projects to consider the environmental impacts, CEQA has helped promote sustainable development in California.
PCL helped to draft CEQA and get it passed. Each year, however, numerous legislative bills are introduced trying to bypass the CEQA process. PCL works relentlessly at the legislature to protect CEQA from such approaches and works with stakeholders across the state to keep CEQA as a vital tool for communities all while trying to update CEQA to be more efficient, effective, and predictable.
What does CEQA do?
CEQA has helped safeguard the state’s lands, air, waters and communities for more than four decades. It has been instrumental in reviewing countless projects that would have spewed toxins into our air, contaminated our land, and poisoned our drinking water.
Because of CEQA, ordinary Californians have successfully protected our magnificent beaches, prevented congestion and sprawl, and safeguarded the health and well being of their families and their communities. – CEQA Everyday Heroes
Our CEQA goals are to:
- Protect the right of the public to weigh in on community land-use decisions.
- Keep California’s environmental laws strong to prevent air and water pollution and the public health risks they pose.
- Advocate for sensible updates to CEQA that reduce bureaucracy without weakening key environmental safeguards.
Learn more about CEQA and how you become involved in the process by becoming a CEQA advocate.
PCL is working with CEQA lawyers and stakeholders to help revise CEQA for the twenty-first century.
This Guide is intended to help laypersons use CEQA to influence decisions that will affect their environment. Learn more about how you can access the guide.
PCL assembled CEQA Works, a coalition of Californians working together to prevent the legislature from weakening our state’s landmark environmental protection law.