2007 California Climate Change Legislation

2007 California Climate Change Legislation

In 2007, California ’s Legislature passed two new laws on climate change. These bills, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, are in addition to the landmark legislation signed into law last year—the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.
Chaptered Bill 185 (Senate Bill 97) of the 2007-2008 California legislative session addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the state’s environmental review statute, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Briefly stated, CEQA’s purpose is to compel government decision makers at all levels to consider environmental consequences when making decisions and to regulate activities so that major consideration is given to preventing environmental damage. The 2007 legislation requires California ’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), by July 1, 2009, to prepare, develop, and transmit to the state Resources Agency guidelines for the feasible mitigation of GHG emissions or the effects of GHG emissions, as required by CEQA, including effects associated with transportation or energy consumption. The Resources Agency is required to certify and adopt those guidelines by January 1, 2010. OPR must periodically update the guidelines to incorporate new information or criteria established by the State Air Resources Board pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act. The 2007 legislation also provides that in an environmental impact report, negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, or other document required by CEQA for transportation projects funded under the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Bond Act of 2006, or projects funded under the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006, the failure to analyze adequately the effects of GHG emissions otherwise required to be reduced pursuant to regulations adopted under the Global Warming Solutions Act does not create a cause of action for a violation of CEQA. This provision applies retroactively for any of those CEQA documents that are not final and will be repealed on January 1, 2010.
 
Second, Chaptered Bill 178 (Senate Bill 85), provides that on January 1, 2008, and on October 1, 2008, and annually thereafter, state agencies must prepare and submit to the Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency in a standardized format as determined by the agency both of the following: (1) a list of those measures that have been adopted and implemented by the state agency to meet GHG emission reduction targets and a status report on actual GHG emissions reduced as a result of these measures; and (2) a list and timetable for adoption of any additional measures needed to meet GHG emission reduction targets. The agency must compile and organize this information in a standardized format and provide the information on the agency’s website in the form of a state agency GHG emission reduction report card. At least once every three years, each reporting state agency must, to the extent funds are available, conduct an independent audit in a standardized format determined by the agency for verification of the actual and proposed GHG emissions reductions achieved by that state agency to ensure that the state agency is achieving GHG emission reduction targets.
 
For complete coverage of California’s environmental and climate change laws, see Manaster and Selmi, California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice, Ch. 85, Climate Change (Matthew Bender). Additional climate change coverage can be found in Grad, Treatise on Environmental Law, 1A, Climate Change and Global Warming (Matthew Bender). Ongoing developments in the emerging area of California ’s climate change laws, such as new legislation and cases, can be found in monthly issues of the California Environmental Law Reporter (Matthew Bender).