2013 CEQA and Land Use Legislative Roundup: Baby Steps, Few Leaps as California Remains Committed to Sustainable Policies

Although 2013 was not a banner year for the passage of new environmental legislation, Governor Brown did sign several bills that make modest changes to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), revisit incentives for the environmental cleanup of redevelopment sites, and establish a new regulatory regime for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Notable bills, all of which go into effect on January 1, 2014, are discussed below.

The legislation that made it past the Governor’s desk underscores the state’s commitment to addressing climate change and promoting healthy, sustainable communities. These goals fall squarely in line with the draft Governor’s Environmental Goals and Policy Report (EGPR) released in September. The new EGPR will be the first adopted since 1978. It calls for comprehensive policy approaches to implement these goals, including decarbonizing the state’s energy and transportation systems and fostering sustainability on a regional level. By identifying key pathways forward, it lays the framework for state agencies to develop new programs and also informs state budgeting and infrastructure investment.

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