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Governor Newsom Signs Ambitious Infrastructure Permitting and Project Review Reforms Into Law

California Governor Newsom signing Infrastructure Proposal 2023
July 10, 2023

The Southern California Water Coalition celebrates the passage and signing into law of Governor Gavin Newsom’s ambitious infrastructure permitting and project review reforms. This package of laws will help streamline the permitting process for hundreds of water projects statewide and allow access to federal funding opportunities for critical infrastructure like safe drinking water and clean energy. California's water travels through massive aqueducts to serve the state's residents.

“We applaud the work of the State Assembly and Senate in passing this important package put forward by Governor Newsom,” said SCWC Executive Director Charley Wilson. “These reforms are critical for our state to build a climate resilient future.”

The new laws will benefit water projects in three key ways: expedited California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) judicial review process and administrative clean up, streamlining of fully protected species permitting, and allowing California Department of Water Resources to use design/build in constructing new projects.

Combined, these reforms will streamline permitting, cut red tape, reduce time-consuming litigation, and make other changes that will shorten project timelines while saving taxpayers, state and local governments and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The reality is that hundreds of critical water projects statewide will go through these processes,” continued Wilson. “This package of laws will help us achieve our goals of a drought resilient state.”

While it is disappointing that the Delta Conveyance project was specifically removed from the package, it is still undergoing its environmental review and nothing otherwise has changed in its status. SCWC looks forward to the completion of this important process which will provide 27 million Californians with access to safe drinking water.

“We are excited about how this package can help us build a better future for our state,” concluded Wilson. “We look forward to seeing these reforms implemented as soon as possible and we thank Governor Newsom and the State Legislature for making them a reality.”

Through statements, rapid response videos, and social media support, SCWC rallied with 50+ community partners such as the Bay Area Council, BizFed, and CalChamber to amplify the importance and foster discussion surrounding the need for these reforms.

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