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Curtis E. Alling, AICP
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CEQA Bills Abound
Significant Effect on the Statute?


Bills introduced into the Legislature’s current session include more potentially far-reaching CEQA proposals than in past years.  It’s not a surprise, recognizing all the pre-session debate about “modernization” of CEQA (i.e., cost and time reductions, litigation limits, use of “standards” in lieu of project-tailored analysis).  A couple elements of “modernization” persist among the proposals, but much of the energy behind the movement may have dissipated, based on the content of bills so far. Common concepts in the CEQA bills include: 
  • some form of CEQA court or division of the courts
  • electronic posting of notices and documents
  • preparation of the administrative record concurrently with CEQA documents
  • clarification that exposure of people to environmental hazards is an environmental effect under CEQA
Also, broader, perhaps “omnibus” CEQA proposals are expected when the substance is amended into two placeholder bills (i.e., “spot” bills) introduced by Senators Steinberg and Evans. 

The tables below list 16 of the major Senate and Assembly CEQA bills and provide links to their text, status, analysis, and history, so it's easy for you to dig deeper.  Other CEQA bills have been introduced, mostly addressing more focused proposals, such as specific exemptions.  Also, amendments can occur daily, so depending on when you read this Ascent Share, a bill’s contents may have shifted.   The tables should, at least, help you get oriented to this year’s proposed CEQA amendments.

We hope you find this to be helpful.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact Ascent Principal, Curtis E. Alling, AICP, at curtis.alling@ascentenvironmental.com or (916) 930-3181. 

Senate Bills
Number Author Key Subjects
SB 123 Corbett (D) Creation of a land use and environmental division in all Superior Courts (not just for CEQA).
SB 436 Jackson (D) All CEQA notices posted on an OPR public website.  Scoping meetings must be “public.”
SB 617 Evans (D) Clarification that exposure of people to environmental hazards is within CEQA’s purview.   Other noticing and administrative record provisions.
SB 633 Pavley (D) Refinements to PRC Section 21166, regarding new information.
SB 731 Steinberg (D) Placeholder.  Intent to streamline environmentally beneficial projects, address significance thresholds, resolve “late hits,” among others.
SB 754 Evans (D) Placeholder. May include EIR “shelf-life,” enforcement of mitigation, baseline definition to exclude illegal activities, among others.
SB 787 Berryhill (R) Re-introduction of contents in 2012’s SB 317 (Rubio) with heavy reliance on “standards” and limits on litigation causes.
 
Assembly Bills

Number Author Key Subjects
AB 37 Perea (D) Administrative record prepared concurrently with EIR, MND, or ND.  Electronic posting of information and comments.
AB 52 Gatto (D) Effects on Native American sacred sites would be environmental effects.
AB 380 Dickinson (D) All CEQA notices posted on an OPR public website.  Scoping meetings must be “public.”
AB 515 Dickinson (D) Creation of a CEQA compliance division in all Superior Courts.
AB 543 Campos (D) Translation of CEQA notices and documents.
AB 756 Melendez (R) SB 900 (2011) provisions applied to “public works projects” (e.g., record prepared concurrently with EIR, electronic posting of information, lawsuits filed directly with appellate court).
AB 823 Eggman (D) California Farmland Protection Act.  Mitigation framework for conversion of agricultural land, including 2:1 farmland protection ratio.
AB 953 Ammiano (D) Clarification that exposure of people to environmental hazards is within CEQA’s purview.  
AB 1302 Hagman (R) Re-introduction of contents in 2012’s SB 317 (Rubio) with heavy reliance on “standards” and limits on litigation causes.


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Ascent Environmental, Inc. is a forward-looking environmental and natural resources consultancy.  We apply our extensive CEQA, and NEPA, climate action planning, and natural resources experience in our environmental practice with the goal of providing personal service and high quality results to our clients on their most important projects.
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