BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                            Senator Kevin de León, Chair

          SB 754 (Evans) - California Environmental Quality Act.
          Amended: May 6, 2013            Policy Vote: EQ 6-2
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: Yes
          Hearing Date: May 23, 2013      Consultant: Marie Liu
          SUSPENSE FILE.
          Bill Summary: SB 754 would require CEQA documents to be prepared  
          either by the lead agency or consultants under the direct  
          contract and supervision of the lead agency, remove the cap on  
          the costs of mitigation measures related to archaeological  
          resources, prohibit the tiering-off of an EIR more than seven  
          years old, and create a new private right of action.

          Fiscal Impact: 
              Unknown, possibly in the hundreds of thousands to millions  
              of dollars annually, from special and General Funds for the  
              development of a new EIR where a previous EIR was more than  
              seven years old. 

          Background: CEQA provides a process for evaluating the  
          environmental effects of a project. Under CEQA, lead agencies  
          with the principal responsibility for carrying out or approving  
          a proposed discretionary project are required to prepare a  
          negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, or  
          environmental impact report (EIR) for the project, unless the  
          project is exempt. The CEQA documents must be prepared directly,  
          or under contract to, the lead agency. The purpose of CEQA is to  
          identify significant environmental impacts, including impacts on  
          archaeological resources, and then mitigate those impacts to the  
          extent feasible. Existing law caps the maximum dollar amount of  
          mitigation that a project proponent can be required to do in  
          order to mitigate impacts to archaeological resources.

          Proposed Law: This bill would make various changes to CEQA.  
          Specifically, this bill would: 
           Require that if a public agency contracts out the preparation  
            of a draft EIR, EIR, negative declaration, or mitigated  
            negative declaration, it may only be with an "environmental  
            consultant" under the direct contract and supervision of the  


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            lead agency.
           Remove the cap on the costs of required mitigations for  
            impacts to archaeological resources.
           Prohibits a later project or infill project from tiering off a  
            previous EIR if that EIR is more than seven years old.
           Create a new private right of action or proceeding to enforce  
            the implementation of mitigation measures should the project  
            applicant fail to implement those measures.

          Staff Comments: This bill may increase the number of EIRs that  
          may need to be prepared because an older EIR, which could have  
          been tiered off from because it meets the existing requirements  
          for validity, is older than seven years. There would be costs to  
          the state under these provisions if the state is the project  
          proponent or the state is the lead or responsible agency and its  
          activities are not fully recovered by a fee paid by the project  
          proponent. Given that the cost of the new EIR would greatly  
          depend on the project specifics, staff estimates that this  
          portion of the bill may cause ten to hundreds of thousands  
          dollars to millions of dollars for new CEQA analyses annually.

          Judicial Council does not anticipate an impact on the courts  
          should the new private right of action under this bill be signed  
          into law. 

          This bill clarifies that if a public agency contracts out to  
          prepare a draft EIR, EIR, negative declaration, or mitigated  
          negative declaration, it must be with an "environmental  
          consultant." Staff notes that the term "environmental  
          consultant" is not defined in the bill.

          Staff notes that this bill contains findings and declarations  
          language regarding the Legislature's intent to provide limited  
          modifications to improve CEQA function. The findings list  
          several desired modifications, such as requiring translation of  
          initial notices and clarifying the baseline from which to assess  
          environmental impacts, which are not contained in this bill. It  
          is unclear whether the author's intent is to address these  
          issues at a later date or whether this is language is  


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