Jackson CEQA Bill Placed On Inactive File

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, June 6, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

AB 406 by Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) was salvaged from two failed attempts at passage in the Assembly late Wednesday and placed on the Assembly's inactive file. Barring some creative parliamentary maneuvering, AB 406 is now a two year bill. As amended June 2, AB 406 would prohibit a project applicant subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) from preparing, or hiring a consultant to prepare, a preliminary draft environmental review document for submittal to the lead agency (typically a city or county). Of particular concern to some Assembly members, is the significant administrative burden the bill would impose on the 160 local agencies that currently use this authority to manage their CEQA workload. In these jurisdictions, AB 406 could bring the CEQA process to a grinding halt.

CMTA joined several business organizations in opposing AB 406, also noting that the bill clearly discourages iterative communication between the applicant and the lead agency during the drafting process that is critical to ensuring accurate and legally defensible documents. AB 406 fails to recognize that project applicants have a compelling interest, by virtue of their investment in the project, in ensuring that the required environmental documents are iron clad. Failure to fully disclose environmental impacts or other vital information virtually guarantees administrative and legal challenges that would result in lengthy project delays, if not outright disapprovals.

Under existing law, the lead agency is required to conduct an independent review of CEQA documents and has exclusive authority to approve documents and projects. There is no compelling environmental protection rationale to limit lead agency authority in the manner proposed by AB 406, but there is a long term economic consequence. AB 406 represents yet another new barrier to business investments in California.
Read more Environmental Impacts articles

Capitol updates archive 989898989