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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Environmental impact statements


The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) became law January 1, 1970, while the California Environmental Quality Act was adopted on September 18 of the same year. NEPA established specific action-forcing procedures for implementing the policy; created the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQA); fostered development of indices of environmental quality; and provided for an annual CEQA report of progress. Section 102(2)(C) is the most renowned portion of NEPA. It requires the preparation of detailed written statements of environmental impacts, including alternative actions and their impacts. Section 102(2)(A) requires federal agencies to implement the integrated use of natural and social sciences and environmental design arts in reviewing environmental problems. The California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 was amended substantially in 1972 as a result of the Friends of Mammoth Decision by the State Supreme Court. CEQA requires that guidelines for the preparation of environmental impact reports shall be adopted by the State Resources Agency and followed by all state and local government entities regulating activities of private individuals, corporations, and public agencies which are found to affect the quality of the environment. CEQA defines environment as the physical conditions within the area which will be affected by a proposed project, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, objects of historic or aesthetic significance.

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