California Governor Schwarzenegger has signed into law two bills, AB 231 and SB 1456, which amend the California Environmental Quality Act(CEQA). The Governor also attached a signing message to the bills that describe the provisions within the bill that are beneficial and at the same time details the bills don’t do enough to amend CEQA.

AB 231 requires a lead agency to prepare an environmental impact report(EIR) on a project that it plans which may have a significant effect on the environment. It also amends CEQA so that it allows “public entities some relief from the unfair political backlash that often occurs.”

SB 1456 amends CEQA in four areas:

  1. tiering and cumulative impact analysis
  2. mediation
  3. allows the Attorney General to request an expedited litigation schedule, and
  4. filing a motion for frivolous actions.

Schwarzenegger goes onto say in his signing message that other than the provisions he refers to which we mention above, “these bills are 99% garbage.” He goes onto say, “neither I nor the Legislature should fool ourselves into thinking that these bills even make a dent in the problems caused by CEQA’s spaghetti-like requirements.” He wanted to see the Legislature provide him with a much more substantive bill that could have fixed the “widespread and rampant abuses plaguing the CEQA process.” He concludes his message by saying he hopes the next group of lawmakers and the next Administration will be able to fix the current problems relating to CEQA