The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which became law in 1970, reigns as the broadest environmental protection law in California. CEQA is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the potentially significant environmental impacts of a project and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.
The basic purposes of CEQA are to:
- Inform governmental decision-makers and the public about the potential, significant environmental effects of proposed activities.
- Identify the ways that environmental impacts can be avoided or significantly reduced.
- Prevent significant, avoidable impacts to the environment by requiring changes in projects through the use of alternatives or mitigation measures when the governmental agency finds the changes to be feasible.
- Disclose to the public the reasons why a governmental agency approved the project in the manner the agency chose if significant environmental effects are involved.
- Encourage early coordination among agencies in reviewing projects.
- Provide better opportunities for public participation.