Today's Law As Amended


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AB-819 California Environmental Quality Act: notices and documents: electronic filing and posting.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 21080.4 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21080.4.
 (a) If a lead agency determines that an environmental impact report is required for a project, the lead agency shall immediately send notice of that determination by certified mail  mail, email,  or an equivalent procedure to each responsible agency, the Office of Planning and Research, and those public agencies having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by the project that are held in trust for the people of the State of California. Upon receipt of the notice, each responsible agency, the office, and each public agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by the project that are held in trust for the people of the State of California shall specify to the lead agency the scope and content of the environmental information that is germane to the statutory responsibilities of that responsible agency, the office, or the public agency in connection with the proposed project and which, pursuant to the requirements of this division, shall be included in the environmental impact report. The information shall be specified in writing and shall be communicated to the lead agency by certified mail  mail, email,  or an  equivalent procedure not later than 30 days after the date of receipt of the notice of the lead agency’s determination. The lead agency shall request similar guidance from appropriate federal agencies.
(b) To expedite the requirements of subdivision (a), the lead agency, any responsible agency, the Office of Planning and Research, or a public agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by the project that are held in trust for the people of the State of California, may request one or more meetings between representatives of those agencies and the office for the purpose of assisting the lead agency to determine the scope and content of the environmental information that any of those responsible agencies, the office, or the public agencies may require. In the case of a project described in subdivision (c) of Section 21065, the request may also be made by the project applicant. The meetings shall be convened by the lead agency as soon as possible, but not later than 30 days after the date that the meeting was requested.
(c) To expedite the requirements of subdivision (a), the Office of Planning and Research, upon request of a lead agency, shall assist the lead agency in determining the various responsible agencies, public agencies having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by the project that are held in trust for the people of the State of California, and any federal agencies that have responsibility for carrying out or approving a proposed project. In the case of a project described in subdivision (c) of Section 21065, that request may also be made by the project applicant.
(d) With respect to the Department of Transportation, and with respect to any state agency that is a responsible agency or a public agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by the project that are held in trust for the people of the State of California, subject to the requirements of subdivision (a), the Office of Planning and Research shall ensure that the information required by subdivision (a) is transmitted to the lead agency, and that affected agencies are notified regarding meetings to be held upon request pursuant to subdivision (b), within the required time period.

SEC. 2.

 Section 21082.1 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21082.1.
 (a) A draft environmental impact report, environmental impact report, negative declaration, or mitigated negative declaration prepared pursuant to the requirements of this division shall be prepared directly by, or under contract to, a public agency.
(b) This section does not prohibit, and shall not be construed as prohibiting, a person from submitting information or other comments to the public agency responsible for preparing an environmental impact report, draft environmental impact report, negative declaration, or mitigated negative declaration. The information or other comments may be submitted in any format, shall be considered by the public agency, and may be included, in whole or in part, in any report or declaration.
(c) The lead agency shall do all of the following:
(1) Independently review and analyze any report or declaration required by this division.
(2) Circulate draft documents that reflect its independent judgment.
(3) As part of the adoption of a negative declaration or a mitigated negative declaration, or certification of an environmental impact report, find that the report or declaration reflects the independent judgment of the lead agency.
(4) Submit a sufficient number of copies, in either a hard-copy or  Submit, in an  electronic form as required by the Office of Planning and Research, of  the draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, or proposed mitigated negative declaration to the State Clearinghouse for review and comment by state agencies, if any of the following apply: Clearinghouse. 
(A) A state agency is any of the following:
(i) (d)  The lead agency. agency shall post all environmental review documents described in subdivision (a) on its internet website, if any. 
(ii) A responsible agency.
(iii) A trustee agency.
(B) A state agency otherwise has jurisdiction by law with respect to the project.
(C) The proposed project is of sufficient statewide, regional, or areawide environmental significance as determined pursuant to the guidelines certified and adopted pursuant to Section 21083.

SEC. 3.

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

21091.
 (a) The public review period for a draft environmental impact report shall not be less than 30 days. If the draft environmental impact report is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review, the  for a proposed project where a state agency is the lead agency, a responsible agency, or a trustee agency; a state agency otherwise has jurisdiction by law with respect to the project; or the proposed project is of sufficient statewide, regional, or areawide significance as determined pursuant to the guidelines certified and adopted pursuant to Section 21083, the  review period shall be at least 45 days, and the lead agency shall provide a sufficient number of copies of  the document, in either a hard-copy or  an  electronic form as required by the Office of Planning and Research, 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 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  for a proposed project where a state agency is the lead agency, a responsible agency, or a trustee agency; a state agency otherwise has jurisdiction by law with respect to the project; or the proposed project is of sufficient statewide, regional, or areawide significance as determined pursuant to the guidelines certified and adopted pursuant to Section 21083, the  review period shall be at least 30 days, and the lead agency shall provide a sufficient number of copies of  the document, in either a hard-copy or  an  electronic form as required by the Office of Planning and Research, 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 CEQA 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 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.
(3) (A) With respect 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 electronic mail  email  and shall treat electronic-mail email  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 electronic-mail email  comments received for those reasons.
(e) (1) Criteria for shorter review periods by the State Clearinghouse for documents that must 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 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 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  Before  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).

SEC. 4.

 Section 21092 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21092.
 (a) A lead agency that is preparing an environmental impact report or a negative declaration or making a determination pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 21157.1 shall provide public notice of that fact within a reasonable period of time prior to certification of the environmental impact report, adoption of the negative declaration, or making the determination pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 21157.1.
(b) (1) The notice shall specify the period during which comments will be received on the draft environmental impact report or negative declaration, and shall include the date, time, and place of any public meetings or hearings on the proposed project, a brief description of the proposed project and its location, the significant effects on the environment, if any, anticipated as a result of the project, the address where copies of the draft environmental impact report or negative declaration, and all documents referenced in the draft environmental impact report or negative declaration, are available for review, and a description of how the draft environmental impact report or negative declaration can be provided in an electronic format.
(2) This section shall not be construed in any manner that results in the invalidation of an action because of the alleged inadequacy of the notice content if there has been substantial compliance with the notice content requirements of this section.
(3) The notice required by this section shall be given to the last known name and address of all organizations and individuals who have previously requested notice, and shall also be given by posting the notice on the internet website of the lead agency and by  at least one of the following procedures:
(A) Publication, no fewer times than required by Section 6061 of the Government Code, by the public agency in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the proposed project. If more than one area will be affected, the notice shall be published in the newspaper of largest circulation from among the newspapers of general circulation in those areas.
(B) Posting of notice by the lead agency on- and off-site in the area where the project is to be located.
(C) Direct mailing to the owners and occupants of contiguous property shown on the latest equalized assessment roll.
(c) For a project involving the burning of municipal wastes, hazardous waste, or refuse-derived fuel, including, but not limited to, tires, meeting the qualifications of subdivision (d), notice shall be given to all organizations and individuals who have previously requested notice and shall also be given by at least the procedures specified in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b). In addition, notification shall be given by direct mailing to the owners and occupants of property within one-fourth of a mile of any parcel or parcels on which is located a project subject to this subdivision.
(d) The notice requirements of subdivision (c) apply to both of the following:
(1) The construction of a new facility.
(2) The expansion of an existing facility that burns hazardous waste which would increase its permitted capacity by more than 10 percent. For purposes of this paragraph, the amount of expansion of an existing facility shall be calculated by comparing the proposed facility capacity with whichever of the following is applicable:
(A) The facility capacity approved in the facility’s hazardous waste facilities permit pursuant to Section 25200 of the Health and Safety Code or its grant of interim status pursuant to Section 25200.5 of the Health and Safety Code, or the facility capacity authorized in any state or local agency permit allowing the construction or operation of a facility for the burning of hazardous waste, granted before January 1, 1990.
(B) The facility capacity authorized in the facility’s original hazardous waste facilities permit, grant of interim status, or any state or local agency permit allowing the construction or operation of a facility for the burning of hazardous waste, granted on or after January 1, 1990.
(e) The notice requirements specified in subdivision (b) or (c) shall not preclude a public agency from providing additional notice by other means if the agency so desires, or from providing the public notice required by this section at the same time and in the same manner as public notice otherwise required by law for the project.

SEC. 5.

 Section 21092.2 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21092.2.
 (a) The notices required pursuant to Sections 21080.4, 21083.9, 21092, 21108, 21152, and 21161 shall be mailed to every person who has filed a written request for notices with either the clerk of the governing body or, if there is no governing body, the director of the agency. If the agency offers to provide the notices by email, upon filing a written request for notices, a person may request that the notices be provided to him or her  that person  by email. The request may also be filed with any other person designated by the governing body or director to receive these requests. The agency may require requests for notices to be annually renewed. The public agency may charge a fee, except to other public agencies, that is reasonably related to the costs of providing this service.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall not be construed in any manner that results in the invalidation of an action because of the failure of a person to receive a requested notice, if there has been substantial compliance with the requirements of this section.
(c) The notices required pursuant to Sections 21080.4 and 21161 shall be provided by the State Clearinghouse to any legislator in whose district the project has an environmental impact, if the legislator requests the notice and the State Clearinghouse has received it.
(d) The lead agency shall post the notices specified in subdivision (a) on its internet website, if any.

SEC. 6.

 Section 21092.3 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21092.3.
 The notices required pursuant to Sections 21080.4 and 21092 for an environmental impact report shall be posted in the office and on the internet website  of the county clerk of each county in which the project will be located and shall remain posted for a period of 30 days. The notice required pursuant to Section 21092 for a negative declaration shall be so posted for a period of 20 days, unless otherwise required by law to be posted for 30 days. The county clerk shall post the notices within 24 hours of receipt.

SEC. 7.

 Section 21108 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21108.
 (a) If a state agency approves or determines to carry out a project that is subject to this division, the state agency shall file a notice of determination with the Office of Planning and Research. The notice shall identify the person or persons in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065, as reflected in the agency’s record of proceedings, and indicate the determination of the state agency whether the project will, or will not, have a significant effect on the environment and shall indicate whether an environmental impact report has been prepared pursuant to this division.
(b) If a state agency determines that a project is not subject to this division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or Section 21172, and the state agency approves or determines to carry out the project, the state agency or the person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065 may file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research. A notice filed pursuant to this subdivision shall identify the person or persons in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065, as reflected in the agency’s record of proceedings. A notice filed pursuant to this subdivision by a person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065 shall have a certificate of determination attached to it issued by the state agency responsible for making the determination that the project is not subject to this division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or pursuant to Section 21172. The certificate of determination may be in the form of a certified copy of an existing document or record of the state agency.
(c) A notice filed pursuant to this section shall be available for public inspection on the internet website of the Office of Planning and Research for not less than 12 months.
(c) (d)  A notice filed by a state agency  pursuant to this section shall be available for public inspection, and a list of these notices shall be posted on a weekly basis in  filed electronically with  the Office of Planning and Research. Each list shall remain posted for a period of 30 days. The  The state agency is not required to mail a printed copy of the notice to the  Office of Planning and Research shall retain each notice for not less than 12 months. Research. 

SEC. 8.

 Section 21152 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21152.
 (a) If a local agency approves or determines to carry out a project that is subject to this division, the local agency shall file a notice of determination within five working days after the approval or determination becomes final, with the county clerk of each county in which the project will be located. The notice shall identify the person or persons in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065, as reflected in the agency’s record of proceedings, and indicate the determination of the local agency whether the project will, or will not, have a significant effect on the environment and shall indicate whether an environmental impact report has been prepared pursuant to this division. The notice shall also include certification that the final environmental impact report, if one was prepared, together with comments and responses, is available to the general public.
(b) If a local agency determines that a project is not subject to this division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or pursuant to Section 21172,  21080,  and the local agency approves or determines to carry out the project, the local agency or the person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065 may file a notice of exemption with the county clerk of each county in which the project will be located. A notice filed pursuant to this subdivision shall identify the person or persons in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065, as reflected in the agency’s record of proceedings. A notice filed pursuant to this subdivision by a person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065 shall have a certificate of determination attached to it issued by the local agency responsible for making the determination that the project is not subject to this division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or Section 21172.  21080.  The certificate of determination may be in the form of a certified copy of an existing document or record of the local agency.
(c) A notice filed pursuant to this section shall be available for public inspection, and shall be posted within 24 hours of receipt in the office or on the internet website  of the county clerk. A notice shall remain posted for a period of 30 days. Thereafter, the clerk shall return the notice to the local agency with a notation of the period it was posted. The local agency shall retain the notice for not less than 12 months.
(d) A notice filed by a local agency pursuant to this section shall be filed electronically with the county clerk if that option is offered by the county clerk.

SEC. 9.

 Section 21161 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21161.
 Whenever a public agency has completed an environmental document, it shall cause a notice of completion of that report to be filed with the Office of Planning and Research using the Office of Planning and Research’s online process. The public agency is not required to mail a printed copy of the notice of completion to the Office of Planning and  Research. The notice of completion shall briefly identify the project and shall indicate that an environmental document has been prepared. The notice of completion shall identify the project location by latitude and longitude. Failure to file the notice required by this section shall not affect the validity of a project.
SEC. 10.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.