News   /   May 13, 2022   /   

CEQA Notice and Filing Requirements Changed Under AB 819

Assembly Bill 819 (AB 819) took effect on January 1, 2022. The key changes for local public agencies to be aware of are the new communication, notice, and filing requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

AB 819 modernizes CEQA by increasing electronic availability of CEQA documents to the public and providing electronic filing options for agencies. Local and state government agencies (“lead agencies”) are now required to submit specified documents assessing potential environmental impacts electronically to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) as well as post such documents on their websites, or the County Clerk is required to post the notices on its website.

AB 819 amends nine sections of the Public Resources Code.[1] Highlights of the new AB 819 legislation include:

  • Email Communications Between Lead and Responsible Agencies. Lead agencies now have the option to send notices of preparation of an EIR (NOPs) to OPR and responsible and trustee agencies by email (in addition to the existing options of “certified mail” or “an equivalent procedure”) and those recipients may submit their responses with written information by email as well.[2]
  • Electronic Submission of Environmental Documents to State Clearinghouse. Lead agencies are now required to submit draft environmental impact reports (DEIRs) and proposed negative declarations and mitigated negative declarations(MNDs) to OPR for all projects and are required to submit them in electronic form as required by OPR, rather than submitting hard copies.[3]
  • Posting of Environmental Documents to Lead Agencies’ Websites. Lead agencies are required to post DEIRs, EIRs, negative declarations, and MNDs on their websites, if they have one.[4]
  • Posting of Notices of Availability to Lead Agencies’ Websites. Notices of availability for review and comment for, and of any hearings on, DEIRs and proposed negative declarations and the related projects, in addition to the prior methods of giving notice, are now required to be posted on the lead agency’s internet website.[5]
  • Posting of Notices of Preparation to Lead Agencies’ Websites. Notices of preparation (NOPs), notices of scoping meetings, notices of availability for review (NOAs), notices of completion, and notices of determination (i.e., the NODs that trigger CEQA’s short, 30-day statutes of limitations) are now, in addition to other existing requirements, required to be posted by the lead agency on its internet website, if any exists.[6] NOPs and NOAs are now, in additionto the required posting in the relevant county clerk’s office, also required to be posted on the county clerk’s internet website.[7]
  • Posting of Notices by State Agencies. State lead agency NODs filed with OPR are now required to be available for public inspection for not less than 12 months on OPR’s internet website; posting requirements for OPR have been deleted, and state agencies are required to file NODs electronically with OPR and are not required to mail printed copies of the NODs to OPR.[8]
  • Posting of Notices of Determination by Local Agencies. Local lead agency NODs are required to be filed electronically with the county clerk ifthat option is offered by the county clerk,[9] and county clerks now have the option of posting the NODs on their internet websites (as well as the existing in-office posting option).[10]
  • Posting of Notices of Completion Through OPR’s Online Process. Notices of completion of environmental documents are now required to be filed by public agencies with OPR using OPR’s online process, and mailing printed copies is not required.[11]
  • Posting of Notices of Exemption. If a notice of exemption is filed, it must be filed electronically with the county if that option is offered.[12] Posting NOEs on the city’s website is not required by AB 819, but is encouraged under CCR 15062(c)(3).

OMLO will continue to monitor these developments carefully. This article is for informational purposes only and only provides an overview of specific developments. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation. For actual legal advice and specifics pertaining to your governmental entity, please contact your OMLO attorney for assistance.

[1](Revised Pub. Resources Code, §§ 21080.4(a), 21082.1(c), 21091(a), 21092(b)(3), 21092.2(d), 21092.3, 21108(d), 21152(c), (d) and 21161.)

[2] (Revised Pub. Resources Code, § 21080.4(a).)

[3] (Revised Pub. Resources Code, § 21082.1(c)(4).)

[4] (New Pub. Resources Code, § 21082.1(d).)

[5] (Revised Pub. Resources Code, § 21092(b)(3).)

[6] (New Resources Code, § 21092.2(d).)

[7] (Revised Pub. Resources Code, § 21092.3.)

[8] (New and Revised Pub. Resources Code, §§ 21108(c), (d).)

[9] (New Pub. Resources Code, § 21152(d))

[10] (Revised Pub. Resources Code, §21152(c).)

[11] (Revised Pub. Resources Code, § 21161.)

[12] (New Pub. Resources Code, § 21152(d)).

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