CSAC Bulletin Article

Cutting the Green Tape—A New Partnership with Counties and Land Stewardship

November 2, 2023

New Partnerships Bring New Tools to Counties.

CSAC partnered up with the California Land Stewardship Network to work through methods to improve and use permit streamlining in the county setting. Much in the same way counties have been using streamlined permitting for flood and disaster emergencies, our goal is to continue to use existing tools to show effective progress in expediting permitting where possible. This two-page toolkit describes various tools for using permit streamlining, from compliance with waste discharge requirements, to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s tools for permit streamlining.

So… What is Cutting the Green Tape?

Cutting the Green Tape means improving regulatory processes and policies so that environmental restoration can occur more quickly, simply, and cost-effectively. Complex and overlapping permitting processes can result in fewer and smaller actions being taken at a slower pace and greater expense. Solutions have been developed to advance projects that improve ecological conditions, ecosystem resilience, and biodiversity. The general approach involves clear direction to project designers through pre-approved measures to minimize short-term impacts that can occur in the process of environmental restoration. Sustainable Conservation has a good summary of tools on their essential guide for accelerated restoration permitting.

How can Local Governments Use Cutting the Green Tape?

Counties are often the lead or responsible agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Using these tools allows counties to simplify the analysis process and utilize legally defensible Cutting Green Tape tools to significantly reduce project timelines, costs, and staff time while ensuring projects meet accepted CEQA compliance standards. This also means supporting local elected boards, councils, management, staff, and clerks, as they use these new tools with confidence.

As counties work together on permit streamlining, CSAC will continue to partner with our local agencies to show our work, and to seek further streamlining that supports county progress and goals. For more information, please contact Catherine Freeman, Senior Legislative Advocate.

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