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Warning! This is a not the current version of this legislative bill.
Italicized text includes proposed additions to law or the previous version of the bill.
Struck text includes proposed deletions to law or the previous version of the bill.

(pdf version)
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 25, 2011

INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Blumenfield

FEBRUARY 16, 2011

An act to add Chapter 6.2 (commencing with Section 25550)
25560) to Division 15 of the Public Resources
Code, relating to energy.



LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 644, as amended, Blumenfield. Energy: renewable energy
facility: siting.
(1) Existing law vests the State Energy Resources Conservation and
Development Commission with the exclusive jurisdiction to certify
the siting of a thermal powerplant with a generation capacity of 50
megawatts or more. Under existing law, a powerplant not under the
jurisdiction of the commission is regulated by local jurisdictions
through their land use authority.
This bill would require the commission, in consultation with the
Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, the Department of
Toxic Substances Control, and the Department of Conservation, to
establish criteria for identifying land with a high potential for use
as a site of a renewable energy generation facility with a
generation capacity of less than 50 megawatts in 3 specific types of
parcels and to prepare a list identifying lands meeting the criteria.

(2) The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a
lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and
certify the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR) on a
project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a
significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative
declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect.
CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative
declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the
environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that
effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as
revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. Existing
law authorizes the preparation of a program EIR.

This bill would authorize the commission to prepare a program EIR
for the list of lands identified as having a high potential for use
as a site of a renewable energy generation facility.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the
following:
(a) Renewable energy promotes economic development and provides
opportunities to stimulate the creation of jobs for Californians.
(b) California is seeking to increase renewable power generation
to help achieve the state's climate change goals required by the
California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Division 25.5
(commencing with Section 38500) of the Health and Safety Code).
(c) The state has been seeking to revitalize and recycle
brownfields and provide for beneficial uses for closed landfills and
unproductive farmland that does not have access to water.
(d) Closed landfills and brownfields present a unique opportunity
for siting solar energy on land that has few reuses and is often
located close to roads and transmission lines.
(e) By identifying brownfields, closed landfills, and unproductive
farmland that does not have access to water and creating incentives
to use the land for renewable energy generation, the state could put
the land with limited reuses to beneficial use while preserving
undisturbed lands and advancing renewable energy generation goals.
SEC. 2. Chapter 6.2 (commencing with Section 25550)
25560) is added to Division 15 of the Public
Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER 6.2. RENEWABLE ENERGY SITING


25550.

25560. (a) The commission, in
consultation with the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery,
the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the Department of
Conservation, shall do both of the following:
(a)

(1) Establish criteria for identifying land with a high
potential for use as a site for a renewable generation facility with
a generation capacity of less than 50 megawatts of electricity in
the following types of parcels:
(1) Closed landfill.

(2) Brownfield.

(3) Degraded agricultural land with no access to water.


(A) A closed disposal site as defined in Section 40115.5.


(B) A brownfield as defined in Section 44504.1 of the Health and
Safety Code.

(C) (i) Degraded agricultural land with no access to water.


(ii) As used in this subparagraph, "degraded agricultural land"
means land that has been mechanically disturbed, including land that
has been converted from native vegetation through plowing,
bulldozing, or other mechanical means in support of activities that
change the land cover, including, but not limited to, agricultural
activities, mining, and clearance for development purposes. Degraded
agricultural lands also includes land, based on appropriate
biological surveys, that has diminished value as habitat for
mitigation purposes for endangered, threatened, candidate, and other
sensitive species.

(2) The evaluation criteria shall include, but is not limited to,
low habitat value for rare, endangered, and sensitive species,
compatibility with neighboring land uses, geological compatibility,
absence of recorded cultural resources determined for listing on the
California Register for Historical Resources, and absence of Native
American tribal cultural sites, as recorded in the Sacred Lands
database of the Native American Heritage Commission.

(b)

(3) Prepare a list that identifies lands that meet the
criteria developed pursuant to subdivision (a)
this section .
(b) The commission may prepare a program environmental impact
report as described in Section 15168 of Title 14 of the California
Code of Regulations for the purposes of the California Environmental
Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21100)) to
facilitate the siting of renewable energy projects on the sites
identified pursuant to the list established pursuant to this section.