Ellen Berkowitz Authors Article on Assembly Bill 52 for Land Use Law & Policy Reporter

November 16, 2015

Assembly Bill 52 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014 and became effective on July 1, 2015. In her article “Assembly Bill 52: A Study in Frustration or a Legislative Success,” featured in the November edition of Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, Shareholder Ellen Berkowitz and Senior Associate Brent McManigal discusses the new legislation, its goals, how it works, and the potential pitfalls and possible problems it may cause.

The bill’s new provisions to the California Environmental Quality Act include: notifying California Native American tribes affiliated with specific geographic areas of proposed projects prior to conducting any environmental review of these areas; discussing with tribes the ways in which potential significant impacts to Tribal Cultural Resources (TCRs) can be mitigated or avoided; understanding that a project with a significant effect on the environment is a project that may adversely affect a TCR; and taking certain steps to avoid damaging any TCR.

Concerns have arisen about the possibility of tribes with financial resources being treated differently than those without. Whether the comprehensive scheme created by Assembly Bill 52 will ultimately succeed in benefitting all tribes, and in ensuring the identification and preservation of TCRs, still remains to be seen.

Read full article.