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AB-1376 Water quality: state certification.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/19/2021 09:00 PM
AB1376:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1376


Introduced by Assembly Member Gray

February 19, 2021


An act to amend Section 13160 of the Water Code, relating to water quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1376, as introduced, Gray. Water quality: state certification.
Under existing law, the State Water Resources Control Board and the California regional water quality control boards prescribe waste discharge requirements in accordance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Under Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, any applicant seeking a federal license for an activity that may result in any discharge into the navigable waters of the United States is required to first seek a state water quality certification, as specified. The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act authorizes the state board to certify or provide a statement to a federal agency, as required pursuant to federal law, that there is reasonable assurance that an activity of any person subject to the jurisdiction of the state board will not reduce water quality below applicable standards. The federal act provides that if a state fails or refuses to act on a request for this certification within a reasonable period of time, which shall not exceed one year after receipt of the request, then the state certification requirements are waived with respect to the federal application.
This bill would require the state board to make the certificate or statement available on its internet website for a 60-day public comment and review period, and would provide that the certificate or statement shall not be final until voted upon by a majority of the members of the state board at the conclusion of that period. The bill would require an additional 60-day public comment and review period if the certificate or statement is materially modified by the state board after the close of the initial 60-day public comment and review period.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 13160 of the Water Code is amended to read:

13160.
 (a) The state board is designated as the state water pollution control agency for all purposes stated in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.) and any other existing or subsequently enacted federal water quality control law.
(b) (1) The state board is authorized to give any certificate or statement required by any federal agency pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or any other federal water quality control law that there is reasonable assurance that an activity of any person subject to the jurisdiction of the state board will comply with applicable requirements of that federal law or any other appropriate requirements of state law.
(2) (A) A certificate or statement issued by the state board pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not be final until voted upon by a majority of the members of the state board at the conclusion of a 60-day public comment and review period, as described in subparagraphs (B) and (C).
(B) Prior to a vote of the state board pursuant to subparagraph (A), the state board shall make the certificate or statement available on its internet website for a 60-day public comment and review period.
(C) If the state board materially modifies the certificate or statement after the close of the 60-day public comment and review period provided in subparagraph (B), the state board shall make the modified certificate or statement available on the state board’s internet website for an additional 60-day public comment and review period.

(2)

(3) The state board may issue the certificate or statement under paragraph (1) before completion of the environmental review required under Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code if the state board determines that waiting until completion of that environmental review to issue the certificate or statement poses a substantial risk of waiver of the state board’s certification authority under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or any other federal water quality control law. To the extent authorized by federal law, the state board shall reserve authority to reopen and, after public notice, an opportunity for comment, and, when appropriate, an opportunity for a hearing, revise the certificate or statement as appropriate to incorporate feasible measures to avoid or reduce significant environmental impacts or to make any necessary findings based on the information provided in the environmental document prepared for the project.
(c) The state board is authorized to exercise any powers delegated to the state and carry out any program a state is authorized to administer under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.) and any amendments to that act.