Key Conclusions: Years of under funding of state and local agencies has taken a toll on conducting business involving environmental agencies. Even collection of increasing fees for labor costs of environmental regulatory agencies does not seem to be helping expedite some projects.
Some of ERAS clients have been experiencing significant delays in the time it takes for an environmental regulatory agency to complete a review.
Over 5 years of significant budget deficits and staffing cuts, furloughs and funding cuts in California have taken their toll at environmental regulatory agencies from the local city level to the state level.
Most of the state and local agencies have implemented fee structures and in some cases raised their fees for case oversight. Others have limited file review appointments. Management has requested that their employees prioritize their caseloads to favor sites with better revenue streams. New leak cases must be formally accepted through a review process and existing leak cases are subject to legal agreements for cost recovery by the agencies.
Even when the site is listed as an active case there are sometimes delays due to lack of sufficient personnel. Some agencies have not been able to hire more workers or replace workers who leave.
ERAS has long experience working with many agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in California and will to attempt to expedite turnaround. We recommend that sites that have requirements for regulatory oversight be identified as soon as possible. Sites that may be subject to Cost Recovery Agreements should be identified as soon as possible.
In the current regulatory environment, ERAS recommends that extra time and budget be allocated to resolve outstanding environmental issues if the Property is involved or could become involved with the environmental regulatory agencies.
ERAS also recommends the owners of Property carefully consider the implications of performing any Phase 2 work that could tie the Property up with regulatory agencies.