On October 4, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 226 (SB 226), in an attempt to help improve the states economy, create jobs and increase tax revenues for the state. SB 226 includes a number of amendments to CEQA, the most significant of which are the following: 1) allowing qualified urban infill projects that meet new statewide performance standards to undergo limited California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review; 2) exempting from environmental review effects which solely relate to increases in greenhouse gas emissions; and 3) as the Governor stated in announcing his signing of the bill, avoid[ing] costly and repetitive permitting for certain renewable power projects.
SB 226 is the third piece of CEQA legislation signed by the Governor this year. Last month, Governor Brown approved Assembly Bill 900, which expedites judicial review for development projects that incorporate various environmental features, and Senate Bill 292, which establishes administrative and judicial review procedures for the proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. We described these new laws in a Client Alert dated September 28, 2011, entitled Governor Signs CEQA Reform Into Law, [http://www.paulhastings.com/publicationDetail.aspx?publicationId=2011].