CEQA isn’t stopping housing, it’s protecting health

: sacbee – excerpt

California needs affordable housing. But legislators must follow the data, not anecdotal evidence from monied interests, to find a legislative fix that will encourage development consistent with California’s priorities.

Communities throughout the state, particularly poor and minority neighborhoods, need permanent housing without risking health or increasing carbon emissions.

Some profit-focused developers point a finger at the California Environmental Quality Act as a key obstacle to building more housing. The facts tell a different story. Today’s streamlined CEQA protects public health and natural resources while giving voice to disadvantaged communities.

Multiple recent studies show that CEQA is not a significant barrier to development. Since its adoption in 1970, CEQA has been updated regularly. Senate Bill 226 in 2011 simplified the review of urban infill projects and affordable housing near public transit…

The 2016 proposal put forth by the governor, for example, offered exemptions to high-priced housing units, favoring developers while clearing the way for projects that would have increased air pollution and encouraged sprawl.

There is a disturbing trend in national politics to substitute falsehoods for facts. We can’t let that happen with the laws that protect our natural resources, public health and economy. CEQA keeps the Golden State clean and green by promoting transparency and public accountability.

Allen Hernandez is executive director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in Riverside. He can be contacted at Allen.H@CCAEJ.org(more)

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