Governor Addresses CEQA Requirements Amid COVID-19 Pandemic in Executive Order
On April 23, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-54-20 (the “Order”), which addressed impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). The Order finds that current physical distancing protocols implemented in response to COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible or impractical for lead agencies, responsible agencies, and project applicants to adhere to certain public filing and notice requirements under CEQA. The Order further states that strict adherence to various statutes and regulations, including CEQA, would prevent, hinder, or delay appropriate actions to prevent and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, the Order provides that the public filing, posting, notice, and public access requirements for projects undergoing, or deemed exempt from, CEQA review are suspended for 60 days. However, the 60-day suspension does not apply to provisions governing the time for public review. Further, where a lead agency, responsible agency, or project applicant is operating under the suspensions and would otherwise have been required to publicly post or file materials concerning the project with a county clerk, the Order requires the lead agency, responsible agency, or project applicant to electronically post and file the required materials. A copy of the Order can be accessed HERE.