The California Environmental Quality Act is needed now more than ever. When widespread fracking is on the horizon, global warming and its impacts are ever more real, water supplies are diminishing; huge and costly infrastructure projects are under consideration at the state and local level, this is not the time to weaken the California Environmental Quality Act.

The California Environmental Quality Act does four important things.

First, it makes the government agencies at all levels stop and think before they act. For instance, high-speed trains, Delta tunnels and desert energy projects. The California Environmental Quality Act makes government agencies fully analyze the pros and cons of any proposed project that might have a significant adverse impact on the environment, even if it appears to be a “good” project.

Second, the California Environmental Quality Act gives ordinary members of the public real power in the project approval process by requiring the public agency to respond substantively to all comments that members of the public make on the legally mandated draft environmental impact report before the government takes action.

Third, the California Environmental Quality Act includes a substantive mandate. If an environmental impact report identifies a measure that could eliminate or lessen a negative impact, the governmental agency proposing the project is required to implement that measure.

Fourth, the California Environmental Quality Act even makes environmental activists stop and think that if we need a process that makes government stop and think, require full analysis, and that full mitigation for impacts should be required if it is feasible to implement such mitigations, then we need to be willing to have our own projects measured by the same yardstick.

For more information on CEQA go to:

Susan Nash