The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) defines procedures for environmental review and impact analysis of projects that need approval by local or state agencies. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) does the same for projects that need approval by federal agencies. Both laws require that the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project be assessed, quantified, disclosed, minimized, and eliminated whenever possible.
The goal of CEQA is to ensure that government agencies do the following:
- Develop, maintain and enhance a high quality environment;
- Provide California's residents with clean air and water, and with historical, scenic, natural and pleasing visual amenities;
- Prevent the elimination of fish and wildlife species and communities for present and future generations;
- Provide long term environmental protection plus a decent home and living environment to its citizens;
- Create and maintain harmony between people and nature so that short and long term social and economic benefits can be gained;
- Develop standards and procedures designed to provide environmental protection; and
- Consider short and long term economic and technical costs and benefits when approving development proposals.
For additional information, visit:
The State Clearinghouse distributes CEQA environmental documents and provides status information.
CERES (The California Environmental Resource Evaluation System) provides the CEQA statutes and Guidelines, case law, and information on the CEQA process.