Governor Newsom has signed SB 286 (McGuire) to streamline offshore wind permitting while establishing the State Lands Commission as the lead agency to manage the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for offshore wind energy projects in California.
Keeping the State Lands Commission in charge of the CEQA process equips an important California natural resource agency to manage offshore wind development in a way that most aligns with our state's legal foundation for protecting coastal resources and coastal access.
Such a decision will have monumental consequences because offshore wind is poised to be an enormous and brand new industry coming to California waters. In 2021, AB 525 set a significant goal for the state to install 25 GW of offshore wind capacity over the next twenty years, and many bills and budget proposals to support this process have subsequently emerged.
Sufrider supports offshore wind development as a way to transition the economy off fossil fuels; and we believe that coastal access, environmental justice and natural resource implications must be thoughtfully considered upfront in the development of offshore wind.