CSAC Bulletin Article

Comments Wanted on Enviro Permitting Bill

February 22, 2018

Environmental Permitting
SB 1301 (Beall) – Request for Comments
As Introduced February 16, 2018

CSAC is asking for comments on SB 1301, by Senator Jim Beall, a revised introduction of his bill from last year, SB 594 related to expedited permitting. This new version would require state natural resources agencies to report to the Legislature their average processing times for designated permits.

In addition, under SB 1301, projects that reduce risk to human life and safety through flood and mudslide risk reduction would be eligible for expedited 90-day permit processing and approval. Eligible projects would be required to have completed CEQA review and meet one of the following priority conditions:

  • Reduce the risk of flooding or mudslide in a watershed that has experienced wildfire within the last 10 years;
  • Located in a watershed that has experienced flooding within the last 10 years that resulted in cumulative losses exceeding $50 million;
  • Reduce flood risk through the seismic retrofit or repair of dam classified as a high hazard or extremely high hazard;
  • Reduce flood risk through the repair, reconstruction, or retrofit of Oroville Dam, or through the repair of levees or sediment removal to prevent flooding from the Feather River downstream of the dam;
  • The project will repair or replace dams in serious disrepair as determined by the Department of Water Resources;
  • The project will reduce the risk of tidal flooding for an urban area in which a 1 percent tidal flood event is estimated to cause damage exceeding $5 billion and threaten industries vital to the state and national economies.

The bill is sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley Water District. CSAC did not formally take a position on SB 594 before it stalled last year. While a laudable goal, staff has identified possible concerns with wait times for other permits that do not fall within the set criteria. CSAC staff is interested in your input and comments.

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