Senator Roth Introduces Bill to Streamline, Modernize CEQA

January 16, 2015

Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside) announced today that he has introduced a bill, jointly authored by Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), to streamline and modernize the environmental review process under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Senate Bill 122 would make the environmental review process under CEQA more efficient while preserving informed environmental decision-making.

“For Inland Southern California, ensuring the CEQA process is more efficient is critical to sustaining economic development in a responsible and informed manner,” said Senator Roth.

“Based on input gathered over the last several months from key stakeholders including businesses, attorneys, environmental groups, and local government groups, Senators Jackson, Hill and I are committed to making common sense modifications to CEQA that make the process more efficient while protecting all Californians.

“Our discussions with stakeholders have been encouraging and I look forward to continuing the conversation with all interested parties and my colleagues in the Legislature as SB 122 moves forward,” said Senator Roth.

SB 122 would improve the process in three ways:

  1. Create an Internet Clearinghouse of all CEQA documents

Currently, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has an online repository of a limited number of CEQA documents, called CEQAnet. SB 122 would expand CEQAnet to require it to include all documents, making them easily accessible to the public.

  1. Save Time and Money Through “Concurrent Preparation of the Administrative Record”

In certain instances, construction projects are challenged in court.  One of the necessary elements for litigation to move forward is to compile the ‘record of proceedings’ – a written record of all the materials supporting the lead agency’s decision which can take months to complete. To save both time and expense, SB 122 would allow a lead agency to prepare the record while going through the CEQA process.

  1. Address “Document Dumping”

The submission of documents and information late in the review process has posed significant challenges in CEQA proceedings. SB 122 would establish new procedures that would preserve the public’s ability to participate while better incorporating late information into decision-making, improving the predictability and efficiency of the process.

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