June 14, 2022

Cutting Green Tape

A novel exemption lawmakers passed to California’s landmark Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in late 2021 has helped fast-track at least four habitat restoration projects so far, with more to follow in the next couple years. The Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects, or SERP, offers a rare reprieve from California’s stringent environmental review and permitting process — and a clear indication of the urgency the state’s leaders feel in advancing ecological restoration work. “When [SERP] passed, it was a little bit controversial,” says Sara Johnson, executive director of the fledgling California Ecological Business Association. Sluggish regulatory approval timelines are the top grievance member organizations of the association share, she said at the Society for Ecological Restoration’s conference in Carmel Valley in...
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