Compromise reached in sacred sites bill

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 28, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A measure regarding CEQA and sacred sites, AB 52 (Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles), has been significantly amended over the past month and a half. It was evident from meetings with the Governor’s office that they wanted to see consultation with the tribes inserted into CEQA but understood that parameters needed to be established to avoid additional roadblocks to projects.

Initially, the bill not only inserted “tribal cultural resources” (religion) into CEQA, but also gave the tribes unilateral authority to determine what a tribal cultural resource was and also authority to prohibit a project unless the tribes had signed off. The bill, as currently amended, narrowly defines tribal cultural resource and, as in existing law, gives the lead agency the discretion to both make the determination if the tribal cultural resource is legitimate and determine what mitigation measures are required for a project to proceed.

The amended bill further allows the lead agency to talk to the project manager about options to mitigate the tribal cultural resource and forces the tribes to declare which representatives are authorized to speak for the tribe in question.

To our knowledge, all members of the business coalition have removed their opposition to the bill. AB 52 passed the floor of the Senate and is now back in the Assembly for concurrence in Senate amendments.

September 17, 2014 Update:

AB 52 was amended to satisfy the oppositions’ concerns. It now narrowly defines tribal cultural resource, gives the lead agency the discretion to both make the determination if the tribal cultural resource is legitimate and determine what mitigation measures are required for a project to proceed. It also allows the lead agency to talk to the project manager about options to mitigate the tribal cultural resource and forces the tribes to declare which representatives are authorized to speak for the tribe in question.

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