People’s Environmental Quality Act — making people part of the environment.
California has a severe housing crisis- there is not enough housing located close to where people work, and home prices and rents are too expensive for most Californians. Our state has the highest poverty rate in the nation, and this can be directly attributed to the lack of homeownership and housing. This crisis leads to further externalities, such as living far from job centers with high costs of living. Workers are forced to drive long hours to work daily and miss quality time with their families. Drivers and the rest of the family suffer higher levels of stress and other health problems and, of course, air quality suffers from this excessive vehicle use. This is just one example of the compounding effects of the housing crisis.
One of the major regulations that eliminate or slows down the production of housing is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). While CEQA plays a vital role in protecting our environment, it’s housing regulations are misused and abused by NIMBYs (those who object to new housing developments in their neighborhoods, colloquialized as the acronym for “Not In My Backyard”). Their overuse of CEQA blocks new housing from being built, which adversely affects people of color and low-income individuals by dramatically increasing the cost of housing, forgetting that people are part of the environment, too.
That’s why our state must enact the California People’s Environmental Quality Act (PEQA).
PEQA is California’s critical people’s economic protection law. Whenever CEQA is used to block housing, PEQA would:
- Provide balance, ensuring the needs of people are also considered when protecting the environment we share with flora and fauna
- Inform the courts and the public of the economic effects that development projects will have on their lives
- Enhance public participation in state economic and environmental efforts by prioritizing community input
- Require our state government to regulate state agencies and corporations whose policies and activities may affect the quality of life in financially vulnerable communities, ensuring those communities are not economically damaged
By prioritizing people, PEQA will balance environmental regulation and provide the fullest economic and social equity protection to California residents, especially the most vulnerable.
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