Today's Law As Amended


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SB-396 Forestry: electrical transmission or distribution lines: clearances: notice and opportunity to be heard.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 15478 is added to the Government Code, to read:

15478.
 (a) On or before January 1, 2024, the office shall develop, through a public process, all of the following:
(1) Standardized content for a letter, door hanger, or other means of notification that the person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains an electrical transmission or distribution line shall use to satisfy the landowner notice requirement described in subdivision (a) of Section 4295.5 of the Public Resources Code. The content shall include a description of the process that the person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains an electrical transmission or distribution line must provide the landowner to exercise the opportunity to be heard, established in subdivision (a) of Section 4295.5 of the Public Resources Code, related to the proposed traversal of land and any felling, cutting, or trimming of trees.
(2) Standardized content for use by a landowner to request the removal of timber or wood as described in subdivision (b) of Section 4295.5 of the Public Resources Code.
(3) Recommendations for the promotion by entities, including, but not limited to, electric utilities, and at locations, including, but not limited to, relevant retail stores, for the planting of appropriate tree and shrub species near electrical infrastructures. Appropriate tree and shrub species shall be tree and shrub species that, if planted in the vicinity of electrical transmission and distribution lines, cannot encroach within the vicinity of overhead conductors such that an electrical utility would need to perform vegetation management to mitigate wildfire risk.
(b) Nothing in this section shall require the office to inspect or enforce Section 4292, 4293, or 4295.5 of the Public Resources Code or participate in any opportunity to be heard by request of a landowner.
(c) Before the release of the standardized content, the person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains an electrical transmission or distribution line shall make a good faith effort to communicate the processes established in Section 4295.5 of the Public Resources Code to a landowner.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4295.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4295.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, including Section 4295, a person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains an electrical transmission or distribution line may traverse land as necessary, regardless of land ownership or express permission to traverse land from the landowner, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to the landowner, to prune  fell, cut, or trim  trees to maintain clearances pursuant to Section 4293, or, if applicable, Rule 35 of the Public Utilities Commission’s General Order 95,  and to abate, by pruning  felling, cutting,  or removal, trimming,  any hazardous, dead, rotten, diseased, leaning,  or structurally defective live trees. The felling, cutting, and trimming of these trees, and the  clearances obtained when the pruning is performed  felling, cutting, or trimming of trees,  shall be at the full discretion of the person that owns, controls, operates, or maintains any an  electrical transmission or distribution line, but shall not  be no  less than what is required in Section 4293.  4293, and, if applicable, Rule 35 of the Public Utilities Commission’s General Order 95.  This section shall apply to both high fire threat districts, as determined by the California  Public Utilities Commission pursuant to its rulemaking authority, and to state responsibility areas.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not exempt a  Trees that are felled, cut, or trimmed pursuant to this section or Section 4292 or 4293 shall remain on the property of the landowner and the  person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains an electrical transmission or distribution line from liability for damages for the removal of vegetation that is not covered by an easement granted to the person for the  shall, to the extent feasible, preserve any potential value of the timber or wood left onsite unless the removal of the timber or wood is timely requested by the landowner within a week of felling, cutting, or trimming, in which case the person shall remove the timber or wood at no cost to the landowner. The person may leave slash and woody debris that have been chipped and has, at maximum, a post-harvest depth of 18 inches above the ground, except within 150 feet from an approved and legally permitted structure that complies with the California Building Standards Code. Nothing in this paragraph shall interfere with agreements made between the landowner and the person who owns, controls, operates, or maintains an  electrical transmission or distribution line. line to specify how timber or wood is left or removed and how its value is preserved.