Eye on the State: Environmental care part of smart housing policy

Over the next few months, legislators will be debating new housing legislation — both state and local — to meet the pressing needs of California’s growing population.
Creating vibrant and complete urban communities requires a strong commitment to protecting and enhancing the quality of urban life.
There is a tendency to say that “just for this project” it is acceptable for the developer to ignore the need to carefully consider the impact on the environment.
One such short-sighted idea currently being discussed is to allow projects to be approved by-right and, in the process, to bypass environmental review now mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act.
The California Environmental Quality Act was passed in 1970 as part of a national wave of environmental protection legislation.
CEQA requires project sponsors to disclose the environmental impacts of their proposed projects and accept public input on those impacts.
It also requires project sponsors to mitigate those impacts.
Moreover, CEQA empowers members of the public to legally challenge the adequacy of the environmental reviews.
The Sierra Club strongly supports the power of the people to participate in the development of rules, regulations, plans and evaluation criteria at every level of decision-making for their communities.
Legislation that lets housing projects bypass the CEQA process is not fair to our communities, to our environment, nor to the very people for whom it claims to be providing housing.

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