RAPID/BulkTransmission/California/Land Access

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RAPIDRegulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

California Bulk Transmission Land Access(3-CA)

The California State Lands Commission has jurisdiction over state sovereign lands (4 million acres of land underlying the state's navigable and tital waterways) and over state school lands (5.5 million acres of land granted to California by Congress in 1853).

State Land Right of Way Lease Agreement

If any portion of the transmission line crosses state lands under the jurisdiction of the California State Lands Commission (CSLC), the developer will need to obtain a Right of Way Lease Agreement by submitting a complete Application Form to the CSLC.[1] The CSLC has jurisdiction and management control over sovereign state land and California school lands (school lands). The Right of Way Lease Agreement for a transmission line project is subject to CEQA review, and it is recommended that most coordination should be done concurrently with the CEQA process to ensure that any CSLC required issues are addressed under CEQA. If another governmental agency has jurisdiction over some part of the project, the CSLC may allow the other agency to act as the lead agency for CEQA.

Encroachment Permit

If components of the project will encroach on existing state highway or other ROWs, the developer must obtain permission from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) by submitting a complete Application TR-0100. [2] Cities and counties may issue routine State highway encroachment permits on specified state highway facilities located within their boundaries if authorized by Caltrans. [3] Caltrans will approve or deny an encroachment permit within 60 days of receipt. [4]

Local Process
Local jurisdictions do not have siting authority for transmission facilities.

More Information

Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

California Federal

Right of Way Agency: California State Lands Commission
State Land Right of Way Process: The state grants utilities owned by municipal corporations "the right of way for the location, construction, and maintenance of...works for the generation and distribution of electrical power. California – Cal. Pub. Util. Code §§ 10151 et seq., Rights in Public Lands and Waters. The municipal utility may select a right of way and must submit land locations, areas, and plans to the State Lands Commission, State controller, and corresponding county recorder for approval. When the right of way is approved, the Land Commission will issue the municipal corporation a permit to use the right of way, unless such use is challenged in court, judicially reviewed, and prohibited. Cal. Pub. Util. Code §1055.
State Highway Right of Way Agency: California Department of Transportation
State Highway Right of Way Process: When the California Department of Transportation acquires a right-of-way for state highway purposes, the Department obtains the right to issue "permits for the location in the right-of-way any...electric power lines." Cal. Sts. & High. Code § 117.
Eminent Domain: "[L]ocal public entities "may acquire property by eminent domain outside territorial limits for...electric supply purposes, unless there is an explicit statutory prohibition on doing so. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1240.125. However, private energy producers do not possess this same authority. Public utilities may acquire property by eminent domain on behalf of a private energy producer only if the private energy producer bears the costs of that property acquisition. Cal. Pub. Util. Code § 2813.

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List of Reference Sources

  1. Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 6224.3 (2013).
  2. Cal. Sts. & High. Code § 670(a) (1935). (2)
  3. Cal. Sts. & High. Code § 676 (1935).
  4. Cal. Sts. & High. Code § 671.5