Misty Calder: Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Two Bills Providing Moderate CEQA Improvements

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Senate Bill (“SB”) 1456, authored by Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), and Assembly Bill (“AB”) 231, authored by Assembly Member Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills), were signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 29, 2010. As urgency statutes, both bills became effective immediately, and both will sunset as of January 1, 2016.

As set forth below, SB 1456, the broader of the two bills, includes several amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) intended to discourage frivolous lawsuits and encourage mediation as a method of settling CEQA disputes prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Furthermore, both bills ease the requirements governing cumulative impacts’ analyses in certain subsequent environmental impact reports (“EIR”), mitigated negative declarations, and negative declarations.

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