Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 7.7. School Lands [8700 - 8723]

  ( Division 7.7 repealed and added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 485, Sec. 2. )

CHAPTER 2. Land Exchanges for Renewable Energy-Related Projects [8720 - 8723]
  ( Chapter 2 added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 485, Sec. 2. )

8720.
  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The high cost of energy is taking a financial toll on California’s residents and economy, as well as making the state more dependent on foreign oil.

(b) California is home to abundant renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.

(c) The State Lands Commission manages on behalf of the State Teachers’ Retirement Fund (STRS) hundreds of thousands of acres of school lands, a great deal of which have significant potential for siting large-scale renewable energy projects.

(d) The State Lands Commission has a duty pursuant to the School Land Bank Act (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 8700)) to take all action necessary to fully develop school lands into a permanent and productive resource base for the benefit of STRS.

(e) A significant amount of school lands are not producing revenue from large-scale renewable energy projects because they are isolated, landlocked parcels, the majority of which are remote desert lands. The consolidation of school land parcels into contiguous holdings would facilitate the sound and effective management of these lands for large-scale renewable energy projects.

(f) On October 16, 2008, the State Lands Commission adopted a resolution supporting the environmentally responsible development of school lands for renewable energy-related projects.

(g) If school lands are leased for large-scale renewable energy projects, the state will benefit in the form of reduced carbon emissions, a cleaner and healthier environment, affordable energy, stronger national security, new jobs, and more funding for STRS.

(h) It is the policy of the state to promote the advancement, development, assessment, and installation of large-scale renewable energy projects on school lands. Any consolidation and development of school lands for renewable energy should be done with assurances that the state’s unique and sensitive environment will be protected.

(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 485, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2012.)

8721.
  

For the purposes of this chapter, “California desert” means the California Desert Conservation Area as described in Section 1781 of Title 43 of the United States Code.

(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 485, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2012.)

8722.
  

(a) The commission shall enter into a memorandum of agreement by April 1, 2012, with the United States Secretary of the Interior to facilitate land exchanges that consolidate school land parcels into contiguous holdings that are suitable for large-scale renewable energy-related projects. The memorandum of agreement shall be tailored, to the extent feasible, to prioritize land exchanges that are best suited for large-scale renewable energy project development, including for the purposes of mitigation of the impacts of that development.

(b) After the memorandum of agreement is entered into, the commission shall make best efforts to consolidate all school land parcels in the California desert into contiguous holdings for large-scale renewable energy-related projects.

(c) The commission shall report to the Legislature by January 1 of each year on the status of the memorandum of agreement and school land consolidation efforts in the California desert.

(d) The requirements of this section are contingent on the cooperation of the United States Secretary of the Interior.

(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 485, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2012.)

8723.
  

(a) Within 240 days of the execution of a memorandum of agreement pursuant to Section 8722, the commission shall prepare and submit to the United States Secretary of the Interior a proposal for land exchanges that consolidate school land parcels in the California desert into contiguous holdings that are suitable for large-scale renewable energy-related projects. In developing the proposal, the commission shall give priority to land exchanges that will facilitate the development of large-scale renewable energy projects.

(b) The commission’s proposal shall be based on an acre-for-acre exchange with the United States. If the United States is not authorized to enter into such an agreement, the commission may propose an exchange based on equivalent appraised values.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), the commission may withhold a school land parcel from an exchange proposal or request additional consideration from the United States Secretary of the Interior if the commission reasonably believes, based on existing and reliable information, that an acre-for-acre exchange would not provide the state with compensation that is equal to or greater than the fair market value of the school land parcel. For the purposes of this subdivision, the commission shall consider the potential renewable energy value of a parcel the commission would receive in the exchange.

(d) In preparing the land exchange proposal, the commission shall consult with the Department of Fish and Game to identify areas in the California desert that would be consistent with the proposed or adopted provisions of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and are either of the following:

(1) Suitable for renewable energy projects because the identified areas do not support habitat or habitat corridor values for species listed as threatened, endangered, or candidate species pursuant to the California Endangered Species Act (Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code) or the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.), that, in the judgment of the Department of Fish and Game, are sufficient to warrant consideration of their designation as a mitigation or conservation area for these species.

(2) Suitable as potential mitigation areas to mitigate the impacts that renewable energy-related projects may have on the environment.

(e) The commission’s costs and expenses attributable to the land exchange process may be payable from the fund. Notwithstanding Section 6217.5, a portion of the revenues generated from renewable energy leases pursuant to this chapter shall be made available to the commission, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to cover the commission’s costs attributable to the land exchange process.

(f) The commission may consider counter land exchange proposals from the United States Secretary of the Interior and make additional proposals to the extent that the additional proposals achieve the goals set forth in this chapter.

(g) Final approval of a land exchange proposed pursuant to this chapter shall be made by the commission at a properly noticed commission meeting.

(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 485, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2012.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC