(April 18, 2011) The California Chamber of Commerce is supporting job creator legislation that expedites the environmental review process for certain projects.
AB 880 (M. Pérez; D-Coachella) streamlines the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) approval process for certain projects by allowing industries subject to greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations under AB 32 to undergo an expedited review through a focused environmental impact report (EIR).
By allowing the expedited process for energy efficiency projects/installs of certain entities subject to GHG compliance, AB 880 will have the dual benefit of facilitating job creation while ensuring environmental integrity.
California is working aggressively to meet the ambitious environmental goals set forth by AB 32, The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.
As regulations are being adopted to reduce California’s GHG emission levels, companies subject to compliance with these regulations must make significant modifications to existing facilities in order to achieve emission reductions required by the law.
Since by law, all GHG regulations will take effect by January 1, 2012, companies have a short time frame in which to be AB 32 compliant ready.
In order to make infrastructure changes, these companies must go through the necessary CEQA permitting process before construction of significant project modifications/upgrades can begin.
Because the CEQA process can be arduous, often resulting in delay and great expense to business, it is important that the state look for ways to streamline this process to help industries meet their AB 32 goals in a timely manner.
AB 880 provides such a path by requiring an expedited environmental review of GHG compliance projects through a focused EIR.
Specifically, this bill will clarify and streamline the CEQA process for projects required to comply with emission reduction regulations under AB 32. The streamlined process will eliminate unnecessary layers of environmental review for specific projects without compromising necessary environmental review.
AB 880 is an important measure in light of the state’s current economy. With unemployment at an alarming 12.4 percent, returning the state to economic health and vitality should be the highest priority. This measure will create jobs, stimulating and boosting the state’s economic recovery.
The CalChamber believes AB 880 provides a “win-win” situation by facilitating the ability of California businesses to comply with GHG emission reductions under AB 32 while also providing the benefits of jobs in the state.
AB 880 is scheduled to be considered April 25 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Contact your Assembly representative and committee members to urge support for AB 880 .
An easy-to-edit letter is available at www.calchambervotes.com .
Staff Contact: Brenda M. Coleman