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California’s Landmark Law Under Attack

April 08 2013 | Beach Access, Blue Water Task Force, Coastal Preservation, Know Your H20, Ocean Ecosystems, Water Quality,
by Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is one of California’s most important laws—not only because the law helps protect our environment and “quality of life”, but CEQA also promotes democratic participation in the decision-making process—giving citizens a say in what happens in their local communities. 

Unfortunately over the past few years, developers and polluting industries have been attempting to weaken CEQA through legislation.  If special interests succeed in weakening CEQA, California’s natural resources could suffer from unchecked development, and the public will lose its ability to require developers to address environmental impacts.

People often ask Surfrider how CEQA directly applies to the work we do.  There are many, many examples of how CEQA has protected our oceans, beaches and waves.  Go here to read a specific case about how coastal resources in San Francisco Bay were protected and how the CEQA process fostered a collaborative approach between the developer and the local groups.

At the end of the day, Surfrider is gravely concerned that a “weakened CEQA” could negatively impact coastal resources, and at the same time, shift the balance of power away from local communities to developers.  In light of this threat, Surfrider Foundation chapter leaders have been actively participating in efforts to keep CEQA strong.  They’ve been writing letters to newspapers and sponsoring local workshops to help educate local communities about the importance of CEQA.

Surfrider also joined a statewide coalition called “CEQA Works”—this broad coalition of 150 organizations is committed to shielding California’s landmark environmental laws from radical reforms that would limit public input and weaken environmental protections.  

Go here to learn more and how you can help keep CEQA strong.  One of the easiest things you can do is call your local State Senators and Assemblymembers and tell them to protect CEQA.

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