Understanding the Environmental Review Process

What is CEQA?

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was established in 1970 and is California’s premier environmental law.  It is pronounced see-quah.

This law has three key aspects:

  1. It requires the lead agency analyze the environmental impacts of a proposed project.
  2. It requires these impacts be disclosed to the public and the decision-makers.
  3. It allows for public review and comment on the findings and the project.

The Sierra Gateway projects is undergoing CEQA’s most detailed review in this most recent iteration of the project.  Last year the City attempted to circumvent this review and do a lesser analysis.  We called them on this and filed a lawsuit.  We won and the City ultimately agreed to do a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

One of the most important features of CEQA is allowing for public review.  This is where you come in.  Your expertise with the region, the streets, the schools, the natural resources, water quality, public safety—all of these are the types of impacts reviewed in an EIR. We’ll highlight commenting on the EIR in our next email.

Interestingly, the City has opted to reduce its analysis to a select few topics.  We’ve challenged this limited analysis in our first letter to the city.  Meanwhile, Citizens Voice is gearing up for the release of the Draft EIR.