CEQA Bill Still Alive

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

Capitol Update, Jan. 30, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

AB 406 by Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) passed the Assembly on January 29th by an unofficial vote count of 42 to 32. This bill had already been amended on January 26, removing language which would have prohibited 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). Two significant issues of concern, however, remained.

Representatives of an opposition coalition (of which CMTA is a member) met throughout the morning with the author and the Moderate Democratic caucus. Concessions were achieved addressing both concerns.

The author agreed to drop, for the time being, language which would have mandated unrestricted property access for public agencies, staff or their consultants. It was agreed that we would submit language to the author which would limit access only to the lead agency and only with adequate notice. The bill would be amended to add this language in the Senate.

The author and the Speaker refused to omit the paragraph universally negating the enforceability of consultant confidentiality agreements, but did agree to attempt to try to workout an acceptable modification in the Senate version. The author in her floor remarks acknowledged that she would modify her current language to specify that only the consultant hired to prepare the CEQA application would be relieved of maintaining confidentiality and only after the CEQA process was initiated.

Republicans still voted against the bill, skeptical of voting in favor of a bill which was not spelled out and reluctant to vote for changes in CEQA regulations which already present a barrier to business investment in California.
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