Assembly Bill (AB) No. 819, approved by Governor Gavin Newsom on July 16, 2021, came into effect on January 1, 2022, changing various California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) communication, notice, and filing requirements.
Email Communications Between Lead and Responsible Agencies
With the statutory changes, lead agencies can now notify responsible agencies that an environmental impact report (EIR) will be required for a project via email. Responsible agencies can also provide comments on the scope of the environmental review via email. Before AB 819, such communication between the lead agencies and responsible agencies had to be sent by certified mail.
Submission of Environmental Documents to State Clearinghouse
Lead agencies must provide electronic copies of draft EIRs, proposed negative declarations, and proposed mitigated negative declarations to the State Clearinghouse for all projects. Before AB 819, lead agencies could submit those documents to the State Clearinghouse in electronic or hard copy and were only required to do so in certain circumstances.
Posting of Environmental Documents to Lead Agencies' Websites
AB 819 requires lead agencies to post all environmental review documents directly on their websites, including draft EIRs, EIRs, negative declarations, or mitigated negative declarations.
Amended Public Review Periods for Certain Projects
AB 819 also amended the minimum public review period for negative declarations to 30 days and for EIRs to 45 days for (1) proposed projects where a state agency is the lead agency, a responsible agency, or a trust