Fellow Story

Torres authors guide for centering environmental justice, health and equity in CEQA

Editor’s note: content originally appeared on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District August 2023 newsletter, Air Currents

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) has published an environmental justice chapter, "Best Practices for Centering Environmental Justice, Health, and Equity," in the agency’s recently updated California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, Air Quality Guidelines. Switzer Fellow Miriam Torres authored the environmental justice chapter. 

CEQA is a state law that generally requires government agencies to inform decision makers and the public about the potential environmental impacts of residential, commercial, industrial and other projects, and to reduce those environmental impacts to the extent feasible.

The environmental justice chapter in the Air District’s 2022 CEQA Guidelines – the first of its kind to be published in California – recognizes the policy imperative to help address long-standing and emerging inequities in the siting, design and development of potential sources of pollution. Apart from mitigating the impacts of pollution, this guidance will promote meaningful participation of community members in all phases of the environmental and land use decision making process.