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CSDA Pushes Amendments to CEQA Legislation

The California Environmental Quality Modernization Act of 2013, Senate Bill 731 (Steinberg), passed the Assembly Local Government Committee last week. CSDA, jointly with the Public Works Coalition (PWC), opposes the bill unless it is amended to remove new burdensome requirements and clarify its provisions. CSDA and others in the PWC testified in opposition to the bill.

During the lengthy hearing, Senator Steinberg focused his testimony on delineating the policy he is willing to focus on in the bill. He emphasized that he would like to concentrate on streamlining CEQA specifically for infill development and projects consistent with sustainable communities strategies - nothing more.

This is a shift from the beginning of the year when legislative leaders alluded to enacting large scale reforms, for which SB 731 was intended to be the vehicle. However, the interest in CEQA has waned as the legislative session runs its course.

Although SB 731 includes numerous provisions attempting to improve CEQA, as currently written, the bill places new burdens on public agencies, raising costs and potentially increasing litigation. Among these provisions, SB 731 requires a lead agency to prepare an annual report on project compliance with mitigation measures as part of the mitigation monitoring plan. Additionally, the bill requires a lead agency to circulate certain draft CEQA findings at least 15 days prior to approval of the proposed project.

CSDA and the PWC requested numerous amendments to the bill in order to reduce burdens on public agencies. Click here to read our coalition letter. CSDA will continue working with Senator Steinberg to address special district concerns.





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