Environmental Impacts in Los Angeles

Environmental Impact Reports (or EIRs) are reports to inform the public and public agency decision-makers of significant environmental effects of proposed projects, identify possible ways to minimize those effects, and describe reasonable alternatives to those projects. The Los Angeles Public Library collection of EIRs contains reports with information about rare or endangered plants and animals, noise and air pollution, and possible disruptions of human culture brought about by specific projects. These documents give us valuable insights into the planning process and decision making strategies that shape our constantly evolving city as well as historical evidence that explains, in part, the shape of our city today.

The Los Angeles Public Library’s EIR collection is focused primarily on projects that take place in the City of Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, and the surrounding area. Furthermore, there are reports from places throughout California and the United States. Today the library has thousands of EIRs in its collection, ranging from Environmental Impact Reports from this month to documents going back to the early 1970s.

Where do EIRs come from? Why are they at the Library?

In 1969 Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act establishing the nation’s environmental policies. In response to NEPA, California created CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act and Governor Reagan signed it in 1970. CEQA requires that state and local agencies disclose and evaluate the significant environmental impacts of proposed projects and adopt all feasible measures to mitigate those impacts.

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