Tuesday, 18 June 2024

State releases draft CEQA guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions

SACRAMENTO – The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has released its preliminary draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guideline amendments, which – once formally adopted – will guide public agencies on how to analyze the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by new projects on the environment.


“California is a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our fight against climate change,” said the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Director Cynthia Bryant. “With these draft guidelines, OPR took a thoughtful approach to how greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed in a comprehensive and fair way, so that we can rebuild California’s infrastructure and stimulate our economy while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint.”


In 2007, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 97 by Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga). The bill’s purpose is to advance a coordinated policy for reducing GHG emissions by directing OPR and the Natural Resources Agency to develop CEQA guidelines on how state and local agencies should analyze, and when necessary, mitigate GHG emissions.


Under SB 97, OPR has until July 1 to submit proposed draft CEQA guidelines to the Natural Resources Agency.


The Natural Resources Agency must then take the draft CEQA guidelines through a formal rulemaking process and adopt them as state regulation by Jan. 1, 2010.


OPR is releasing the draft guidelines ahead of schedule to allow additional time to address public comments and for the Natural Resources Agency to prepare the necessary documentation as part of its rulemaking process.


In June, OPR released its technical advisory, which was developed in consultation with the Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the Air Resources Board.


Until the CEQA guidelines are adopted next January, this technical advisory provides a blueprint that public agencies can use to address GHG emissions within existing requirements of the CEQA statutes and guidelines.


OPR will hold two public workshops on Jan. 22 and 26 to discuss the preliminary language before submitting its final recommendations to the Natural Resources Agency.


For more information on the OPR preliminary draft CEQA guidelines and additional tools for public agencies, go to www.opr.ca.gov.


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