BILL NUMBER: AB 900 AMENDED
AMENDED IN SENATE SEPTEMBER 9, 2011
AMENDED IN SENATE SEPTEMBER 8, 2011
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MAY 10, 2011
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 26, 2011
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Members Buchanan and Gordon
(Principal coauthor: Senator Steinberg)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Block and Pan)
(Coauthors: Senators Calderon, Lieu, and Rubio)
FEBRUARY 17, 2011
An act to add and repeal Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section
21178) of Division 13 of the Public Resources Code, relating to
, and declaring the urgency thereof,
to take effect immediately .
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 900, as amended, Buchanan. Jobs and Economic Improvement
Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011.
(1) The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a
lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and
certify the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR) on a
project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a
significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative
declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect.
CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative
declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the
environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that
effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as
revised, would have a significant effect on the environment.
CEQA establishes procedures for creating the administrative record
judicial review procedure for any action or proceeding brought to
challenge the lead agency's decision to certify the EIR or to grant
This bill would enact the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through
Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 and establish specified judicial
review procedures for the judicial review of the EIR and approvals
granted for a leadership project related to the development of a
residential, retail, commercial, sports, cultural, entertainment, or
recreational use project, or clean renewable energy or clean energy
manufacturing project. The act would authorize the Governor to
certify a leadership project for streamlining pursuant to the act if
certain conditions are met. The bill would repeal the act as of
January 1, 2015.
Because the lead agency would be required to use these alternative
procedures for creating the administrative record if the project
applicant so chooses and the project is certified by the Governor,
this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would
require, among other things, that the project create high-wage,
highly skilled jobs and not result in any net additional emission of
greenhouse gases, including greenhouse gas emissions from employee
(2) This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as
to the act's unique and unprecedented streamlining benefits under the
California Environmental Quality Act.
(3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse
local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
(4) This bill would become operative only if SB 292 is enacted and
takes effect on or before January 1, 2012.
(5) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately
as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3 majority . Appropriation:
no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 21178) is added to
Division 13 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER 6.5. JOBS AND ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT THROUGH
ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP ACT OF 2011
21178. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The overall unemployment rate in California is 12 percent, and
in certain regions of the state that rate exceeds 13 percent.
(b) The California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13
(commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code)
requires that the environmental impacts of development projects be
identified and mitigated.
(c) The act also guarantees the public an opportunity to review
and comment on the environmental impacts of a project and to
participate meaningfully in the development of mitigation measures
for potentially significant environmental impacts.
(d) There are large projects under consideration in various
regions of the state that would replace old and outmoded facilities
with new job-creating facilities to meet those regions' needs while
also establishing new, cutting-edge environmental benefits to those
(e) These projects are privately financed or financed from
revenues generated from the projects themselves and do not require
(f) These projects further will generate thousands of full-time
jobs during construction and thousands of additional permanent jobs
once they are constructed and operating.
(g) These projects also present an unprecedented opportunity to
implement nation-leading innovative measures that will significantly
reduce traffic, air quality, and other significant environmental
impacts, and fully mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions resulting
from passenger vehicle trips attributed to the project.
(h) These pollution reductions will be the best in the nation
compared to other comparable projects in the United States.
(i) The purpose of this act is to provide unique and unprecedented
streamlining benefits under the California Environmental Quality Act
for projects that provide the benefits described above for a limited
period of time to put people to work as soon as possible.
21180. For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms
shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Applicant" means a public or private entity or its
affiliates, or a person or entity that undertakes a public works
project, that proposes a project and its successors, heirs, and
(b) "Environmental leadership development project," "leadership
project," or "project" means a project as described in Section 21065
that is one the following:
(1) A residential, retail, commercial, sports, cultural,
entertainment, or recreational use project that is certified as LEED
silver or better by the United States Green Building Council and,
where applicable, that achieves a 10-percent greater standard for
transportation efficiency than for comparable projects. These
projects must be located on an infill site. For a project that is
within a metropolitan planning organization for which a sustainable
communities strategy or alternative planning strategy is in effect,
the infill project shall be consistent with the general use
designation, density, building intensity, and applicable policies
specified for the project area in either a sustainable communities
strategy or an alternative planning strategy, for which the State Air
Resources Board, pursuant to subparagraph (H) of paragraph (2) of
subdivision (b) of Section 65080 of the Government Code, has accepted
a metropolitan planning organization's determination that the
sustainable communities strategy or the alternative planning strategy
would, if implemented, achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction
(2) A clean renewable energy project that generates electricity
exclusively through wind or solar, but not including waste
incineration or conversion.
(3) A clean energy manufacturing project that manufactures
products, equipment, or components used for renewable energy
generation, energy efficiency, or for the production of clean
alternative fuel vehicles.
(c) "Transportation efficiency" means the number of vehicle trips
by employees, visitors, or customers of the residential, retail,
commercial, sports, cultural, entertainment, or recreational use
project divided by the total number of employees, visitors, and
21181. This chapter does not apply to a project if the applicant
fails to notify a lead agency prior to the release of the draft
environmental impact report for public comment that the applicant is
electing to proceed pursuant to this chapter. The lead agency shall
notify the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency if the applicant
fails to provide notification pursuant to this section.
21182. A person proposing to construct a leadership project may
apply to the Governor for certification that the leadership project
is eligible for streamlining provided by this chapter. The person
shall supply evidence and materials that the Governor deems necessary
to make a decision on the application. Any evidence or materials
shall be made available to the public at least 15 days before the
Governor certifies a project pursuant to this chapter.
21183. The Governor may certify a leadership project for
streamlining pursuant to this chapter if all the following conditions
(a) The project will result in a minimum investment of one hundred
million dollars ($100,000,000) in California upon completion of
(b) The project creates high-wage, highly skilled jobs that pay
prevailing wages and living wages and provide construction jobs and
permanent jobs for Californians, and helps reduce unemployment.
(c) The project does not result in any net additional emission of
greenhouse gases, including greenhouse gas emissions from employee
transportation, as determined by the State Air Resources Board
pursuant to Division 25.5 (commencing with Section 38500) of the
Health and Safety Code.
(d) The project applicant has entered into a binding and
enforceable agreement that all mitigation measures required pursuant
to this division to certify the project under this chapter shall be
conditions of approval of the project, and those conditions will be
fully enforceable by the lead agency or another agency designated by
the lead agency. In the case of environmental mitigation measures,
the applicant agrees, as an ongoing obligation, that those measures
will be monitored and enforced by the lead agency for the life of the
(e) The project applicant agrees to pay the costs of the Court of
Appeal in hearing and deciding any case, including payment of the
costs for the appointment of a special master if deemed appropriate
by the court, in a form and manner specified by the Judicial Council,
as provided in the Rules of Court adopted by the Judicial Council
pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 21185.
(f) The project applicant agrees to pay the costs of preparing the
administrative record for the project concurrent with review and
consideration of the project pursuant to this division, in a form and
manner specified by the lead agency for the project.
21184. (a) The Governor may certify a project for streamlining
pursuant to this chapter if it complies with the conditions specified
in Section 21183.
(b) (1) Prior to certifying a project, the Governor shall make a
determination that each of the conditions specified in Section 21183
has been met. These findings are not subject to judicial review.
(2) (A) If the Governor determines that a leadership project is
eligible for streamlining pursuant to this chapter, he or she shall
submit that determination, and any supporting information, to the
Joint Legislative Budget Committee for review and concurrence or
(B) Within 30 days of receiving the determination, the Joint
Legislative Budget Committee shall concur or nonconcur in writing on
(C) If the Joint Legislative Budget Committee fails to concur or
nonconcur on a determination by the Governor within 30 days of the
submittal, the leadership project is deemed to be certified.
(c) The Governor may issue guidelines regarding application and
certification of projects pursuant to this chapter. Any guidelines
issued pursuant to this subdivision are not subject to the rulemaking
provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5
(commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of
the Government Code).
21185. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, any action or
proceeding alleging that a public agency or has approved or is
undertaking a leadership project certified by the Governor in
violation of this division shall be conducted in accordance with the
following streamlining benefits:
(1) The action or proceeding shall be filed in the Court of Appeal
with geographic jurisdiction over the project.
(2) Any party bringing such a claim shall also file concurrently
any other claims alleging that a public agency has granted land use
approvals for the leadership project in violation of the law. The
Court of Appeal shall have original jurisdiction over all those
(3) The Court of Appeal shall issue its decision in the case
within 175 days of the filing of the petition.
(4) The court may appoint a master to assist the court in managing
and processing the case.
(5) The court may grant extensions of time only for good cause
shown and in order to promote the interests of justice.
(b) On or before July 1, 2012, the Judicial Council shall adopt
Rules of Court to implement this chapter.
21186. Notwithstanding any other law, the preparation and
certification of the administrative record for a leadership project
certified by the Governor shall be performed in the following manner:
(a) The lead agency for the project shall prepare the
administrative record pursuant to this division concurrently with the
(b) All documents and other materials placed in the administrative
record shall be posted on, and be downloadable from, an Internet Web
site maintained by the lead agency commencing with the date of the
release of the draft environmental impact report.
(c) The lead agency shall make available to the public in a
readily accessible electronic format the draft environmental impact
report and all other documents submitted to, or relied on by, the
lead agency in the preparation of the draft environmental impact
(d) A document prepared by the lead agency or submitted by the
applicant after the date of the release of the draft environmental
impact report that is a part of the record of the proceedings shall
be made available to the public in a readily accessible electronic
format within five business days after the document is released or
received by the lead agency.
(e) The lead agency shall encourage written comments on the
project to be submitted in a readily accessible electronic format,
and shall make any comment available to the public in a readily
accessible electronic format within five days of its receipt.
(f) Within seven business days after the receipt of any comment
that is not in an electronic format, the lead agency shall convert
that comment into a readily accessible electronic format and make it
available to the public in that format.
(g) The lead agency shall certify the final administrative record
within five days of its approval of the project.
(h) Any dispute arising from the administrative record shall be
resolved by the Court of Appeal pursuant to Section 21185.
21187. The draft and final environmental impact report shall
include a notice in no less than 12-point type stating the following:
"THIS EIR IS SUBJECT TO CHAPTER 6.5 (COMMENCING WITH SECTION
21178) OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE, WHICH PROVIDES, AMONG OTHER
THINGS, THAT ANY JUDICIAL ACTION CHALLENGING THE CERTIFICATION OF THE
EIR OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PROJECT DESCRIBED IN THE EIR IS SUBJECT
TO THE PROCEDURES SET FORTH IN SECTION 21178.2 OF THE PUBLIC
RESOURCES CODE AND MUST BE FILED WITH THE COURT OF APPEAL. A COPY OF
CHAPTER 6.5 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE IS INCLUDED IN THE APPENDIX
TO THIS EIR."
21188. The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any
provision of this chapter or its application is held to be invalid,
that invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application
that can be given effect without the invalid provision or
21189. Except as otherwise provided expressly in this chapter,
nothing in this chapter affects the duty of any party to comply with
21189.1. (a) If a lead agency fails to certify an environmental
impact report for a leadership project subject to this chapter on or
before June 1, 2014, this chapter shall not apply to that project.
The lead agency shall notify the Secretary of the Natural Resources
Agency by July 1, 2014, if an environmental impact report subject to
this chapter has not been certified by that date.
(b) If, prior to June 1, 2014, a certification issued pursuant to
this chapter has not been used or the time period during which an
action or proceeding, for purposes of Section 21185, may be filed
under this chapter has not elapsed, the certification expires and is
no longer valid.
21189.2. The Judicial Council shall report to the Legislature on
or before January 1, 2015, on the effects of this chapter, which
shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the benefits,
costs, and detriments of the certification of leadership projects
pursuant to this chapter.
21189.3. This chapter shall remain in effect until January 1,
2015, and as of that date is repealed unless a later enacted statute
extends or repeals that date.
SEC. 2. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a
local agency or school district has the authority to levy service
charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or
level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section
17556 of the Government Code.
SEC. 3. This act shall become operative only if Senate Bill 292 of
the 2011-12 Regular Session is enacted and takes effect on or before
January 1, 2012.
SEC. 4. This act is an urgency statute
necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health,
or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and
shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity
The continued economic crisis in the state requires immediate
attention, and the expedited processes provided by this legislation
for projects that provide important environmental and economic
benefits will serve as a basis for new and increased economic
development in the state.