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Do California's environmental laws need to be reformed?

We recently discussed the fact that California has passed so many proactive environmental laws that it will be easier for the Golden State to comply with the Obama administration’s new emission standards than it will be for every other state in the union to do so. This advantage is one clear example of how California’s environmental law culture is working for Californians.

However, not every environmental law in California operates efficiently or effectively. As a result, many businesses find themselves struggling to comply with regulations that may hurt their bottom line while producing few benefits for the breathtaking variety of habitats and natural resources that California lays claim to.

Many are suggesting that it is time to ask whether or not California’s environmental laws should be significantly reformed. Even environmental activists are concerned with this broad and pressing question given the urgency with which California should approach some of its environmental problems. One need not have disdain for environmental protections to question whether the state’s environmental laws are inefficient and largely ineffective.

For example, the editorial board of the Fresno Bee recently questioned the effectiveness and practical applications of the California Environmental Quality Act. The board argues that the CEQA is not applied consistently and therefore needs to be reformed in such a way that it applies to everyone in equal measure. This is just one thought regarding the need for environmental law reform in California. Concerned citizens should consider getting involved and speaking out in productive ways that compel state legislators to sit up and listen.

Source: The Fresno Bee, “Time to reform outdated environmental law,” June 10, 2014

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