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AB-1642 California Environmental Quality Act: water system well and domestic well projects: exemption.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/12/2022 09:00 PM
AB1642:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1642


Introduced by Assembly Member Salas

January 12, 2022


An act to add Section 21080.31 to the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1642, as introduced, Salas. California Environmental Quality Act: water system well and domestic well projects: exemption.
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 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.
The California Safe Drinking Water Act provides for the operation of public water systems and imposes on the State Water Resources Control Board various responsibilities and duties relating to the regulation of drinking water to protect public health. Existing law establishes the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund in the State Treasury to help water systems provide an adequate and affordable supply of safe drinking water in both the near and long terms. Existing law requires the state board to annually adopt, and update every 3 years, a fund expenditure plan that contains specified information, including, but not limited to, a list of water systems that consistently fail to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water. Existing law requires the state board to develop a drinking water needs assessment to inform the board’s annual fund expenditure plan.
This bill would exempt from CEQA a project that relates to a well that is part of a water system or to a domestic well that has been designated by the state board as high risk or medium risk in the state board’s drinking water assessment and that is designed to mitigate or prevent a failure of the well or the domestic well that would leave residents that rely on the well, the water system to which the well is connected, or the domestic well without an adequate supply of safe drinking water. The bill would require a lead agency that determines that a project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to these provisions to file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and the county clerk, as provided. Because a lead agency would be required to determine the applicability of this exemption, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21080.31 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21080.31.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following definitions:
(1) “Adequate supply” has the same meaning as set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 116681 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) “Domestic well” has the same meaning as set forth in subdivision (i) of Section 116681 of the Health and Safety Code.
(3) “Safe drinking water” has the same meaning as set forth in subdivision (o) of Section 116681 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) “Water system” means all of the following:
(A) “Public water system,” as defined in subdivision (h) of Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code.
(B) “State small water system,” as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 116275 of the Health and Safety Code.
(C) “Tribal water system,” shall mean a tribal water system included by the department in its 2021 Drinking Water Needs Assessment.
(5) “Well” shall mean a wellhead that provides drinking water to a water system.
(b) This division shall not apply to a project that meets both of the following conditions:
(1) The project relates to a well that is part of a water system or to a domestic well that has been designated by the State Water Resources Control Board as high risk or medium risk in the state board’s drinking water needs assessment conducted and relied upon by the state board to inform its annual fund expenditure plan pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 116769 of the Health and Safety Code, as that assessment may be updated pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 116772) of Chapter 4.6 of Part 12 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) The project is designed to mitigate or prevent a failure of the well or the domestic well that would leave residents that rely on the well, the water system to which the well is connected, or the domestic well without an adequate supply of safe drinking water.
(c) A lead agency that determines that a project is exempt pursuant to this section shall file a notice of exemption, as described in Section 15062 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, with the Office of Planning and Research in the manner specified in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 21108 and with the county clerk in the manner specified in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 21152.

SEC. 2.

 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.