Environmental Law

Envt'l Law News Summer 2015, Vol. 24, No. 1

A New Era: Consultation with California Native American Tribes and Consideration of Tribal Cultural Resources under CEQA

by Andee Leisy*


On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 52 (AB 52), expanding the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) to provide California Native American tribes,1 including those that are not federally recognized,2an opportunity to engage in formal consultation with public agencies considering approval of projects that could result in impacts to "tribal cultural resources." AB 52 applies to projects with a notice of preparation (NOP) of an environmental impact report (EIR) or of a negative declaration or mitigated negative declaration (MND) issued on or after July 1, 2015.

Authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, AB 52 establishes tribal cultural resources as a new resource category requiring analysis under CEQA. It also formalizes the duty of State and local public agencies to consult with tribes, upon written request, for the first time.

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