CSAC Bulletin Article

Ag, Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Rulemaking Round-Up

February 14, 2019

The CSAC AENR team is tracking a several administrative rulemaking projects regarding wildfire, utility mitigation plans, safety element reviews, wetland dredge and fill procedures, organic waste processing and the implementation of SB 901. These rulemakings are being pursued by a variety of different state agencies. Below is a chart that includes the general contents of each rulemaking and upcoming deadlines for public comment. CSAC is actively tracking these rulemakings and will provide comment letters on several of them throughout the upcoming months. 

Board of Forestry Rulemaking Updates

The Board of Forestry is running two emergency rulemakings which use a shorter timeframe for public comment. They are also implementing several technical procedures to implement bills that passed through the Legislature last year.

Sub-Division Fire Safety Procedure Rulemaking:

  • The purpose of the proposed action is to develop a transparent, clear, and standardized process for legislative bodies to make the tentative/parcel map findings and transmit them to the Board.
  • Written Comment Deadline: February 25th, 2019
  • Public Hearing to Be Held on March 6th, 2019.

Very High Fire Hazard Adoption Rulemaking:

  • The purpose of the proposed action is to implement and make specific the Legislature’s requirement in GC 51179© (AB 2611 Friedman 2018) that local agencies send their adopted ordinances to the Board. The effect of the proposed action is to provide local agencies a transparent and consistent process for submitting their ordinances to the Board.
  • Written Comment Deadline: February 25th, 2019
  • Public Hearing to Be Held on March 6th, 2019.

SB 1260 Safety Element Review Rulemaking:

  • The purpose of the proposed action is to revise the Safety Element Review regulations to include the new consultation option now in statute.
  • Written Comment Deadline: February 25th, 2019
  • Public Hearing to Be Held on March 6th, 2019.

Emergency Rulemaking: SB 901 Implemented Changes to Working Forest Management Plans

  • This rulemaking changes several requirements for Working Forest Management Plans (WFMPs) and Non-industrial Timber Management Plans (NTMPs)
    • Changes max acreage size from 15k acres down to 10K acres.
    • Allows WFMPs to include multiple working forest landowners
    • Removes WFMP requirement to discuss sediment discharge
    • Requires WFMPs to be contained within a single hydrological area
    • Allows NTMPs to include multiple tree farmers
    • Requires compliance with state and regional water boards
  • Comment Deadline: February 11th, 2019

Emergency Rulemaking: SB 901 Exemptions from the Z’Berg-Nejedly Forest Practices Act

  • This rulemaking creates the following exemptions from small land owners from having to create a timber harvesting plans:
    • Exemption for 4290 and 4291 defensible space clearing.
    • Exemption to remove dead and dying trees. Also removes many requirements for removing these types of trees.
    • Exemption to create fuel breaks (Small Timberland Owner Exemption) 60 acre max in coastal areas and 100 acre max in Northern and Southern areas.
    • Exemption to allow for the removal of dead and dying trees to facilitate construction or reconstruction in areas of Lake, Siskiyou, Mendocino, Shasta, Trinity, and Napa counties that were damaged in 2018.
  • Comment Deadline: February 12, 2019 COB was the last day to submit comments for this emergency rulemaking.

CPUC Rulemaking Updates

SB 901 Wildfire Mitigation Plan Rulemaking: (R. 18-10-007)

  • The utilities submitted their wildfire mitigation plans on February 6th. In an original schedule issued by the CPUC when this rulemaking hearing started it set a comment deadline of 20 days after the plans were released. Below is an update schedule from the CPUC:

    • SB 901 Wildfire mitigation plans schedule:
      • Feb. 6, 2019: Utilities file and serve wildfire mitigation plans
      • Feb. 13, 2019: Wildfire Mitigation Plans Presentation Workshop (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
      • Feb. 20, 2019: Motions requesting hearings filed and served
      • Feb. 25, 2019: Responses to motions for hearings filed and served
      • Week of Feb. 25, 2019: Focused issue-specific workshops on specific issues in wildfire mitigation plans (details TBA)
      • Feb. 26, 2019: Wildfire Mitigation Plans Technical Workshop #1 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with a break at 1pm for WMP PHC)
      • Feb. 26, 2019: Pre-hearing conference addressing motions for hearings and other procedural matters
      • Feb. 27, 2019: Wildfire Mitigation Plans Technical Workshop #2 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
      • Mar. 4, 2019: Intervenor testimony served
      • Start Mar. 11, 2019: Evidentiary hearings if needed
      • Mar. 13, 2019: Intervenor comments filed and served
      • Mar. 22, 2019: Concurrent opening briefs/comments
      • Mar. 22, 2019: Utility reply comments filed and served
      • Mar. 27, 2019: Concurrent reply briefs/comments

De-energization Public Safety Power Shutoff Rulemaking (R. 18-12-005)

  • This policy will provide utilities guidance when deciding when or if to de-energize power lines in an effort to lower the risk of fire ignition during high risk weather events. It is also referred to as a “Public Safety Power Shutoff”
  • Next Step: February 19, 2019: Pre-hearing conference. 1:00 p.m. at the California State Personnel Board, Hearing Room E, 801 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, California 95814. A conference line will be provided.
  • Final Decision not expected until Summer 2019.

State Water Board:

State Wetland Definition And Procedures For Discharges Of Dredged Or Fill Material To Waters Of The State

  • The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is nearing the end of more than a decade long policy development process that would create a statewide definition of wetlands for the purposes of determining what bodies of water are to be considered protected “Waters of the State.” Included in this proposed policy are both the new definition of wetlands and procedures for discharges of dredged or fill material to “Waters of the State.” This proposed policy has been drafted in part to include more wetlands under State jurisdiction. The proposed definition and procedures will be used in both 401 State Water Quality Certifications as required under the Federal Clean Water Act and in the issuance of Water Discharge Requirements under California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. CSAC has been monitoring this rulemaking very closely with the help of our County Engineers Association of California (CEAC) Flood Control and Water Resources Policy Committee.
    • Schedule:
      • Informational update will be provided to the Water Board at their meeting February 19, 2019.
      • New language based on stakeholder workshop from February 6th, 2019 set to be release February 22nd, 2019
      • Expected Vote Noticed for March 5th, 2019


SB 1383 Organic Waste Rulemaking:

  • CSAC has been following this rulemaking since late 2017 and has been an active participant in a series of informal workshops that have taken place over that timeframe. Cal Recycle issued these regulations to implement SB 1383 on January 18, 2019, which started a 45 day comment period. SB 1383 created significant changes in organic waste management law.
  • Written Comment Deadline: March 4th, 2019 Close of business
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