Environmental Law Alert: Notice of proposed CEQA regulations on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The California Natural Resources Agency ("Resources Agency") is conducting rulemaking proceedings to promulgate new CEQA Guidelines and Amendments to existing CEQA Guidelines ("CEQA Guidelines") that will address lead agencies' obligations to evaluate and mitigate potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with a project. The Resources Agency held a public hearing and took public comments on August 18, 2009. The Resources Agency will consider all written comments on the draft CEQA Guidelines submitted by August 27, 2009
Among other things, the draft CEQA Guidelines require lead agencies to "make a good-faith effort, based on available information, to describe, calculate or estimate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a project." (Draft Guidelines section 15064.4(a).) However, in making this effort, a lead agency retains the discretion to use a model or methodology to quantify greenhouse gas emissions or rely on a qualitative analysis or performance based standards. (Draft Guidelines section 15064.4(a).)
Additionally, other sources suggest that the final CEQA Guidelines promulgated by the Resources Agency will continue to defer to the lead agency's discretion in conducting CEQA review of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, in its Initial Statement of Reasons for Regulatory Action, the Resources Agency has indicated that the final CEQA Guidelines will not prescribe a "hierarchy" of preferred mitigation measures for greenhouse gas emissions (such as on-site mitigation), as requested by certain public commenters. Rather, the Resources Agency has stated that lead agencies retain the discretion in selecting the method of mitigation for particular impacts.
The Resources Agency must certify adopt the final CEQA Guidelines by January 1, 2010. A copy of the draft CEQA Guidelines is available on the Resources Agency's website at: http://ceres.ca.gov/ceqa/guidelines/.
For more information, please contact:
Kristen Castaños at (916) 319-4674 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael Phillips at (916) 319-4745 or email@example.com