Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state’s iconic environmental law

Inside the Capitol’s corridors and pro-development quarters around the state, the California Environmental Quality Act is increasingly disparaged as a villain in the state’s housing crisis. But the act’s environmentalist defenders are pushing back, saying many projects slip too easily through—leading to overdrawn groundwater tables and disappearing forests. And whatever the urgency to build more housing, environmentalists say there’s nothing to preempt a rigorous review of commercial proposals—even ones as visually appealing as vineyards in the Napa Valley.