SACRAMENTO – As part of his ongoing efforts to spur job creation, streamline regulations and boost renewable energy, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today released a package of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reforms that will simplify and expedite the approval process for key job-creating projects in California.
“These reforms will fast-track key projects that put Californians to work,” said Governor Brown. “Like California, CEQA must be more nimble.”
The package of CEQA reforms was released today by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and provide the regulatory changes necessary to implement SB 226 (Simitian), which the Governor signed last October.
Once these draft reforms are finalized, they will simplify the approval process for infill projects by eliminating repetitive studies of environmental effects already addressed in other planning documents, such as general plans and zoning codes. This will help reduce the time and cost often associated with infill projects, while also allowing cities to focus on new or unique projects that help create jobs, revitalize cities and promote transit.
SB 226 also removes hurdles to harnessing solar energy and growing green-collar jobs by exempting solar projects located on existing rooftops and parking lots.
Earlier this month, Governor Brown issued proposed implementation guidelines for AB 900 (Buchanan), signed last September. AB 900 sends CEQA litigation for certain large projects directly to the Court of Appeal and requires a decision on the merits in a short timeframe. The law also offers immediate help to projects that provide California with the most economic and environmental benefit.
Together, CEQA reforms in SB 226 and AB 900 will reduce repetitive documentation and expedite litigation timelines while preserving informed decision-making and mitigation of environmental harm.