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AB-1924 CEQA: environmental impact reports.(2011-2012)

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AB1924:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1924


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Buchanan

February 22, 2012


An act to amend Section 21091 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1924, as introduced, Buchanan. CEQA: environmental impact reports.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR) on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment, or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA prescribes certain requirements for the review of draft EIRs, as specified.
This bill would make various technical, nonsubstantive changes in those provisions relating to the requirements for the review of draft EIRs.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 21091 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21091.
 (a) The public review period for a draft environmental impact report may shall not be less than 30 days. If the draft environmental impact report is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review, the review period shall be at least 45 days, and the lead agency shall provide a sufficient number of copies of the document to the State Clearinghouse for review and comment by state agencies.
(b) The public review period for a proposed negative declaration or proposed mitigated negative declaration may shall not be less than 20 days. If the proposed negative declaration or proposed mitigated negative declaration is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review, the review period shall be at least 30 days, and the lead agency shall provide a sufficient number of copies of the document to the State Clearinghouse for review and comment by state agencies.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), if a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, or proposed mitigated negative declaration is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review and the period of review by the State Clearinghouse is longer than the public review period established pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), whichever is applicable, the public review period shall be at least as long as the period of review and comment by state agencies as established by the State Clearinghouse.
(2) The public review period and the state agency review period may, but are not required to, begin and end at the same time. Day one of the state agency review period shall be the date that the State Clearinghouse distributes the document to state agencies.
(3) If the submittal of a CEQA document is determined by the State Clearinghouse to be complete, the State Clearinghouse shall distribute the document within three working days from the date of receipt. The State Clearinghouse shall specify the information that will be required in order to determine the completeness of the submittal of a CEQA document.
(d) (1) The lead agency shall consider comments it receives on a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, or proposed mitigated negative declaration if those comments are received within the public review period.
(2) (A) With respect regard to the consideration of comments received on a draft environmental impact report, the lead agency shall evaluate comments on environmental issues that are received from persons who have reviewed the draft and shall prepare a written response pursuant to subparagraph (B). The lead agency may also respond to comments that are received after the close of the public review period.
(B) The written response shall describe the disposition of each significant environmental issue that is raised by commenters. The responses shall be prepared consistent with Section 15088 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, as those regulations existed on June 1, 1993.
(3) (A) With respect regard to the consideration of comments received on a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, proposed mitigated negative declaration, or notice pursuant to Section 21080.4, the lead agency shall accept comments via e-mail and shall treat e-mail comments as equivalent to written comments.
(B) Any law or regulation relating to written comments received on a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, proposed mitigated negative declaration, or notice received pursuant to Section 21080.4, shall also apply to e-mail comments received for those reasons.
(e) (1) Criteria for shorter review periods by the State Clearinghouse for documents that must are required to be submitted to the State Clearinghouse shall be set forth in the written guidelines issued by the Office of Planning and Research and made available to the public.
(2) Those shortened review periods may shall not be less than 30 days for a draft environmental impact report and 20 days for a negative declaration.
(3) A request for a shortened review period shall only be made in writing by the decisionmaking body of the lead agency to the Office of Planning and Research. The decisionmaking body may designate by resolution or ordinance a person authorized to request a shortened review period. A designated person shall notify the decisionmaking body of this request.
(4) A request approved by the State Clearinghouse shall be consistent with the criteria set forth in the written guidelines of the Office of Planning and Research.
(5) A shortened review period may shall not be approved by the Office of Planning and Research for a proposed project of statewide, regional, or areawide environmental significance as determined pursuant to Section 21083.
(6) An approval of a shortened review period shall be given prior to, and reflected in, the public notice required pursuant to Section 21092.
(f) Prior to carrying out or approving a project for which a negative declaration has been adopted, the lead agency shall consider the negative declaration together with comments that were received and considered pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).