California Environmental Insights Oct. 2017, Industry Updates – Proposed Bill to Expedite Permit Processing for Emergency Projects

August 25, 2017

Senate Bill (SB) 594 would require a California State agency to issue or deny a permit within 90 days for an eligible project that 1) will maintain or improve human life safety protection by reducing flood and dam failure risks, and 2) has complied with CEQA. An eligible project must meet one of the following objectives:

  • Reduce flood risk by repairing, reconstructing, or retrofitting Oroville Dam or its appurtenant structures
  • Reduce flood risk in a watershed that has experienced flooding within the last 10 years resulting in cumulative losses exceeding $50 million;
  • Reduce flood risk through seismic retrofit or repair of a dam;
  • Remove flood risk to life and property from a dam; or
  • Reduce risk of tidal flooding.

The regulation would require all State agencies to expedite permits for eligible projects as follows:

  • Within 30 days after a State agency receives a written request to approve a permit pursuant to this section, the State agency shall determine whether substantial evidence exists that the project satisfies requirements listed above.
  • If the project is determined to be eligible, the State Agency must commence expedited permitting and approve or deny a permit it is responsible for within 60 days.
  • To the maximum extent possible, requires mitigation measures listed in the permit to be consistent with the final CEQA document.

SB 594 can be read at:

GEI Contact: Cindy Davis,