Chapter 6: Limitations

 

 

21165. Lead agency; preparation of impact report


When a project is to be carried out or approved by two or more public agencies, the determination of whether the project may have a significant effect on the environment shall be made by the lead agency; and such agency shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract, the environmental impact report for the project, if such a report is required by this division. In the event that a dispute arises as to which is the lead agency, any public agency, or in the case of a project described in subdivision (c) of Section 21065 the applicant for such project, may submit the question to the Office of Planning and Research, and the Office of Planning and Research shall designate, within 21 days of receiving such request, the lead agency, giving due consideration to the capacity of such agency to adequately fulfill the requirements of this division.

 

 

21166. Subsequent or supplemental impact report; conditions


When an environmental impact report has been prepared for a project pursuant to this division, no subsequent or supplemental environmental impact report shall be required by the lead agency or by any responsible agency, unless one or more of the following events occurs:
(a) Substantial changes are proposed in the project which will require major revisions of the environmental impact report.
(b) Substantial changes occur with respect to the circumstances under which the project is being undertaken which will require major revisions in the environmental impact report.
(c) New information, which was not known and could not have been known at the time the environmental impact report was certified as complete, becomes available.

 

 

21166.1. Effect of preparation of impact report by lead agency


The decision of a lead agency to prepare an environmental impact report with respect to environmental impacts within a geographic area or for a group of projects shall not be a basis for determining that an environmental document prepared for an individual project within that area or group is inadequate.

 

 

21167. Commencement of actions or proceedings; time


Any action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the following acts or decisions of a public agency on the grounds of noncompliance with this division shall be commenced as follows:
(a) An action or proceeding alleging that a public agency is carrying out or has approved a project which may have a significant effect on the environment without having determined whether the project may have a significant effect on the environment shall be commenced within 180 days from the date of the public agency's decision to carry out or approve the project, or, if a project is undertaken without a formal decision by the public agency, within 180 days from the date of commencement of the project.
(b) Any action or proceeding alleging that a public agency has improperly determined whether a project may have a significant effect on the environment shall be commenced within 30 days from the date of the filing of the notice required by subdivision (a) of Section 21108 or subdivision (a) of Section 21152.
(c) Any action or proceeding alleging that an environmental impact report does not comply with this division shall be commenced within 30 days from the date of the filing of the notice required by subdivision (a) of Section 21108 or subdivision (a) of Section 21152 by the lead agency.
(d) Any action or proceeding alleging that a public agency has improperly determined that a project is not subject to this division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or pursuant to Section 21085 or 21172 shall be commenced within 35 days from the date of the filing by the public agency, or person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065, of the notice authorized by subdivision (b) of Section 21108 or subdivision (b) of Section 21152. If the notice has not been filed, the action or proceeding shall be commenced within 180 days from the date of the public agency's decision to carry out or approve the project, or, if a project is undertaken without a formal decision by the public agency, within 180 days from the date of commencement of the project.
(e) Any action or proceeding alleging that any other act or omission of a public agency does not comply with this division shall be commenced within 30 days from the date of the filing of the notice required by subdivision (a) of Section 21108 or subdivision (a) of Section 21152.
(f) If a person has made a written request to the public agency for a copy of the notice specified in Section 21108 or 21152 prior to the date on which the agency approves or determines to carry out the project, then not later than five days from the date of the agency's action, the public agency shall deposit a written copy of the notice addressed to that person in the United States mail, first-class postage prepaid. The date upon which this notice is mailed shall not affect the time periods specified in subdivisions (b), (c), (d), and (e).

 

 

21167.1. Preferential hearing or other civil actions; designation of judges to develop expertise


(a) In all actions or proceedings brought pursuant to Sections 21167, 21168, and 21168.5, including the hearing of an action or proceeding on appeal from a decision of a lower court, all courts in which the action or proceeding is pending shall give the action or proceeding preference over all other civil actions, in the matter of setting the action or proceeding for hearing or trial, and in hearing or trying the action or proceeding, so that the action or proceeding shall be quickly heard and determined. The court shall regulate the briefing schedule so that, to the extent feasible, the court shall commence hearings on an appeal within one year of the date of the filing of the appeal.
(b) To ensure that actions or proceedings brought pursuant to Sections 21167, 21168, and 21168.5 may be quickly heard and determined in the lower courts, the superior courts in all counties with a population of more than 200,000 shall designate one or more judges to develop expertise in this division and related land use and environmental laws, so that those judges will be available to hear, and quickly resolve, actions or proceedings brought pursuant to Sections 21167, 21168, and 21168.5.
(c) In any action or proceeding filed pursuant to this chapter that is joined with any other cause of action, the court, upon a motion by any party, may grant severance of the actions. In determining whether to grant severance, the court shall consider such as matters judicial economy, administrative economy, and prejudice to any party.

 

 

21167.2. Failure to commence action or proceeding within time limits; presumption that impact report complies with division


If no action or proceeding alleging that an environmental impact report does not comply with the provisions of this division is commenced during the period prescribed in subdivision (c) of Section 21167, the environmental impact report shall be conclusively presumed to comply with the provisions of this division for purposes of its use by responsible agencies, unless the provisions of Section 21166 are applicable.

 

 

21167.3. Assumption that impact report or negative declaration complies with division; conditional approval or disapproval


(a) If an action or proceeding alleging that an environmental impact report or a negative declaration does not comply with the provisions of this division is commenced during the period described in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21167, and if an injunction or stay is issued prohibiting the project from being carried out or approved pending final determination of the issue of such compliance, responsible agencies shall assume that the environmental impact report or the negative declaration for the project does comply with the provisions of this division and shall issue a conditional approval or disapproval of such project according to the timetable for agency action in Article 5 (commencing with Section 65950) of Chapter 4.5 of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code. A conditional approval shall constitute permission to proceed with a project when and only when such action or proceeding results in a final determination that the environmental impact report or negative declaration does comply with the provisions of this division.
(b) In the event that an action or proceeding is commenced as described in subdivision (a) but no injunction or similar relief is sought and granted, responsible agencies shall assume that the environmental impact report or negative declaration for the project does comply with the provisions of this division and shall approve or disapprove the project according to the timetable for agency action in Article 5 (commencing with Section 65950) of Chapter 4.5 of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code. Such approval shall constitute permission to proceed with the project at the applicant's risk pending final determination of such action or proceeding.

 

 

21167.4. Mandate proceeding alleging noncompliance with division; hearing request; dismissal; briefing schedules and hearing dates


(a) In any action or proceeding alleging noncompliance with this division, the petitioner shall request a hearing within 90 days from the date of filing the petition or shall be subject to dismissal on the court's own motion or on the motion of any party interested in the action or proceeding.
(b) The petitioner shall serve a notice of the request for a hearing on all parties at the time that the petitioner files the request for a hearing.
(c) Upon the filing of a request by the petitioner for a hearing and upon application by any party, the court shall establish a briefing schedule and a hearing date. In the absence of good cause, briefing shall be completed within 90 days from the date that the request for a hearing is filed, and the hearing, to the extent feasible, shall be held within 30 days thereafter. Good cause may include, but shall not be limited to, the conduct of discovery, determination of the completeness of the record of proceedings, the complexity of the issues, and the length of the record of proceedings and the timeliness of its production. The parties may stipulate to a briefing schedule or hearing date that differs from the schedule set forth in this subdivision if the stipulation is approved by the court.

 

 

21167.5. Proof of service; filing with initial pleading


Proof of prior service by mail upon the public agency carrying out or approving the project of a written notice of the commencement of any action or proceeding described in Section 21167 identifying the project shall be filed concurrently with the initial pleading in such action or proceeding.

 

 

21167.6. Record of proceedings; clerk's transcript on appeal; filing briefs on appeal; date of appeal for hearing


Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in all actions or proceedings brought pursuant to Section 21167, except those involving the Public Utilities Commission, all of the following shall apply:
(a) At the time that the action or proceeding is filed, the plaintiff or petitioner shall file a request that the respondent public agency prepare the record of proceedings relating to the subject of the action or proceeding. The request, together with the complaint or petition, shall be served upon the public agency not later than 10 business days from the date that the action or proceeding was filed.
(b)(1) The public agency shall prepare and certify the record of proceedings not later than 60 days from the date that the request specified in subdivision (a) was served upon the public agency. Upon certification, the public agency shall lodge a copy of the record of proceedings with the court and shall serve on the parties notice that the record of proceedings has been certified and lodged with the court. The parties shall pay any costs or fees imposed for the preparation of the record of proceedings in conformance with any law or rule of court.
(2) The plaintiff or petitioner may elect to prepare the record of proceedings or the parties may agree to an alternative method of preparation of the record of proceedings, subject to certification of its accuracy by the public agency, within the time limit specified in this subdivision.
(c) The time limit established by subdivision (b) may be extended only upon the stipulation of all parties who have been properly served in the action or proceeding or upon order of the court. Extensions shall be liberally granted by the court when the size of the record of proceedings renders infeasible compliance with that time limit. There is no limit on the number of extensions which may be granted by the court, but no single extension shall exceed 60 days unless the court determines that a longer extension is in the public interest.
(d) If the public agency fails to prepare and certify the record within the time limit established in subdivision (b), or any continuances of that time limit, the plaintiff or petitioner may move for sanctions, and the court may, upon that motion, grant appropriate sanctions.
(e) The record of proceedings shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following items:
(1) All project application materials.
(2) All staff reports and related documents prepared by the respondent public agency with respect to its compliance with the substantive and procedural requirements of this division and with respect to the action on the project.
(3) All staff reports and related documents prepared by the respondent public agency and written testimony or documents submitted by any person relevant to any findings or statement of overriding considerations adopted by the respondent agency pursuant to this division.
(4) Any transcript or minutes of the proceedings at which the decisionmaking body of the respondent public agency heard testimony on, or considered any environmental document on, the project, and any transcript or minutes of proceedings before any advisory body to the respondent public agency which were presented to the decisionmaking body prior to action on the environmental documents or on the project.
(5) All notices issued by the respondent public agency to comply with this division or with any other law governing the processing and approval of the project.
(6) All written comments received in response to, or in connection with, environmental documents prepared for the project, including responses to the notice of preparation.
(7) All written evidence or correspondence submitted to, or transferred from, the respondent public agency with respect to compliance with this division or with respect to the project.
(8) Any proposed decisions or findings submitted to the decisionmaking body of the respondent public agency by its staff, or the project proponent, project opponents, or other persons.
(9) The documentation of the final public agency decision, including the final environmental impact report, mitigated negative declaration, or negative declaration, and all documents, in addition to those referenced in paragraph (3), cited or relied on in the findings or in a statement of overriding considerations adopted pursuant to this division.
(10) Any other written materials relevant to the respondent public agency's compliance with this division or to its decision on the merits of the project, including the initial study, any drafts of any environmental document, or portions thereof, which have been released for public review, and copies of studies or other documents relied upon in any environmental document prepared for the project and either made available to the public during the public review period or included in the respondent public agency's files on the project, and all internal agency communications, including staff notes and memoranda related to the project or to compliance with this division.
(11) The full written record before any inferior administrative decisionmaking body whose decision was appealed to a superior administrative decisionmaking body prior to the filing of litigation.
(f) In preparing the record of proceedings, the party preparing the record shall strive to do so at reasonable cost in light of the scope of the record.
(g) The clerk of the superior court shall prepare and certify the clerk's transcript on appeal not later than 60 days from the date that the notice designating the papers or records to be included in the clerk's transcript was filed with the superior court, if the party or parties pay any costs or fees for the preparation of the clerk's transcript imposed in conformance with any law or rules of court. Nothing in this subdivision precludes an election to proceed by appendix, as provided in Rule 5.1 of the California Rules of Court.
(h) Extensions of the period for the filing of any brief on appeal may be allowed only by stipulation of the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. Extensions for the filing of a brief on appeal shall be limited to one 30-day extension for the preparation of an opening brief, and one 30-day extension for the preparation of a responding brief, except that the court may grant a longer extension or additional extensions if it determines that there is a substantial likelihood of settlement that would avoid the necessity of completing the appeal.
(i) At the completion of the filing of briefs on appeal, the appellant shall notify the court of the completion of the filing of briefs, whereupon the clerk of the reviewing court shall set the appeal for hearing on the first available calendar date.

 

 

21167.7. Copy of pleadings to attorney general; granting of relief


Every person who brings an action pursuant to Section 21167 shall comply with the requirements of Section 389.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Every such person shall also furnish pursuant to Section 389.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure a copy of any amended or supplemental pleading filed by such person in such action to the Attorney General. No relief, temporary or permanent, shall be granted until a copy of the pleading has been furnished to the Attorney General in accordance with such requirements.

 

 

21167.8. Settlement meeting; presettlement and settlement statements; further settlement conference; failure to participate


(a) Not later than 20 days from the date of service upon a public agency of a petition or complaint brought pursuant to Section 21167, the public agency shall file with the court a notice setting forth the time and place at which all parties shall meet and attempt to settle the litigation. The meeting shall be scheduled and held not later than 45 days from the date of service of the petition or complaint upon the public agency. The notice of the settlement meeting shall be served by mail upon the counsel for each party. If the public agency does not know the identity of counsel for any party, the notice shall be served by mail upon the party for whom counsel is not known.
(b) At the time and place specified in the notice filed with the court, the parties shall meet and confer regarding anticipated issues to be raised in the litigation and shall attempt in good faith to settle the litigation and the dispute which forms the basis of the litigation. The settlement meeting discussions shall be comprehensive in nature and shall focus on the legal issues raised by the parties concerning the project that is the subject of the litigation.
(c) The settlement meeting may be continued from time to time without postponing or otherwise delaying other applicable time limits in the litigation. The settlement meeting is intended to be conducted concurrently with any judicial proceedings.
(d) If the litigation is not settled, the court, in its discretion, may, or at the request of any party, shall, schedule a further settlement conference before a judge of the superior court. If the petition or complaint is later heard on its merits, the judge hearing the matter shall not be the same judge conducting the settlement conference, except in counties that have only one judge of the superior court.
(e) The failure of any party, who was notified pursuant to subdivision (a), to participate in the litigation settlement process, without good cause, may result in an imposition of sanctions by the court.
(f) Not later than 30 days from the date that notice of certification of the record of proceedings was filed and served in accordance with Section 21167.6, the petitioner or plaintiff shall file and serve on all other parties a statement of issues which the petitioner or plaintiff intends to raise in any brief or at any hearing or trial. Not later than 10 days from the date on which the respondent or real party in interest has been served with the statement of issues from the petitioner or plaintiff, each respondent and real party in interest shall file and serve on all other parties a statement of issues which that party intends to raise in any brief or at any hearing or trial.

 

 

21168. Review of determination; finding or decision of public agency; law governing; scope


Any action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void or annul a determination, finding, or decision of a public agency, made as a result of a proceeding in which by law a hearing is required to be given, evidence is required to be taken and discretion in the determination of facts is vested in a public agency, on the grounds of noncompliance with the provisions of this division shall be in accordance with the provisions of Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
In any such action, the court shall not exercise its independent judgment on the evidence but shall only determine whether the act or decision is supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

 

 

21168.5. Abuse of discretion


In any action or proceeding, other than an action or proceeding under Section 21168, to attack, review, set aside, void or annul a determination, finding, or decision of a public agency on the grounds of noncompliance with this division, the inquiry shall extend only to whether there was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion is established if the agency has not proceeded in a manner required by law or if the determination or decision is not supported by substantial evidence.

 

 

21168.6. Mandate to public utilities commission; supreme court jurisdiction


In any action or proceeding under Sections 21168 or 21168.5 against the Public Utilities Commission the writ of mandate shall lie only from the Supreme Court to such commission.

 

 

21168.7. Declaration of existing law


Sections 21168 and 21168.5 are declaratory of existing law with respect to the judicial review of determinations or decisions of public agencies made pursuant to this division.

 

 

21168.9. Public agency actions; noncompliance with division; court order; content; restrictions


(a) If a court finds, as a result of a trial, hearing, or remand from an appellate court, that any determination, finding, or decision of a public agency has been made without compliance with this division, the court shall enter an order that includes one or more of the following:
(1) A mandate that the determination, finding, or decision be voided by the public agency, in whole or in part.
(2) If the court finds that a specific project activity or activities will prejudice the consideration or implementation of particular mitigation measures or alternatives to the project, a mandate that the public agency and any real parties in interest suspend any or all specific project activity or activities, pursuant to the determination, finding, or decision, that could result in an adverse change or alteration to the physical environment, until the public agency has taken any actions that may be necessary to bring the determination, finding, or decision into compliance with this division.
(3) A mandate that the public agency take specific action as may be necessary to bring the determination, finding, or decision into compliance with this division.
(b) Any order pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include only those mandates which are necessary to achieve compliance with this division and only those specific project activities in noncompliance with this division. The order shall be made by the issuance of a peremptory writ of mandate specifying what action by the public agency is necessary to comply with this division. However, the order shall be limited to that portion of a determination, finding, or decision or the specific project activity or activities found to be in noncompliance only if a court finds that (1) the portion or specific project activity or activities are severable, (2) severance will not prejudice complete and full compliance with this division, and (3) the court has not found the remainder of the project to be in noncompliance with this division. The trial court shall retain jurisdiction over the public agency's proceedings by way of a return to the peremptory writ until the court has determined that the public agency has complied with this division.
(c) Nothing in this section authorizes a court to direct any public agency to exercise its discretion in any particular way. Except as expressly provided in this section, nothing in this section is intended to limit the equitable powers of the court.

 

 

21169. Validation of projects.


Any project defined in subdivision (c) of Section 21065 undertaken, carried out or approved on or before the effective date of this section and the issuance by any public agency of any lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement for use executed or issued on or before the effective date of this section notwithstanding a failure to comply with this division, if otherwise legal and valid, is hereby confirmed, validated and declared legally effective. Any project undertaken by a person which was supported in whole or part through contracts with one or more public agencies on or before the effective date of this section, notwithstanding a failure to comply with this division, if otherwise legal and valid, is hereby confirmed, validated and declared legally effective.

 

 

21170. Judicial proceedings in progress; effect


(a) Section 21169 shall not operate to confirm, validate or give legal effect to any project the legality of which was being contested in a judicial proceeding in which proceeding the pleadings, prior to the effective date of this section, alleged facts constituting a cause of action for, or raised the issue of, a violation of this division and which was pending and undetermined on the effective date of this section; provided, however, that Section 21169 shall operate to confirm, validate or give legal effect to any project to which this subdivision applies if, prior to the commencement of judicial proceedings and in good faith and in reliance upon the issuance by a public agency of any lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement for use, substantial construction has been performed and substantial liabilities for construction and necessary materials have been incurred.
(b) Section 21169 shall not operate to confirm, validate or give legal effect to any project which had been determined in any judicial proceeding, on or before the effective date of this section to be illegal, void or ineffective because of noncompliance with this division.

 

 

21171. Moratorium provision for certain projects


This division, except for Section 21169, shall not apply to the issuance of any lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement for use for any project defined in subdivision (c) of Section 21065 or to any project undertaken by a person which is supported in whole or in part through contracts with one or more public agencies until the 121st day after the effective date of this section. This section shall not apply to any project to which Section 21170 is applicable or to any successor project which is the same as, or substantially identical to, such a project.
This section shall not prohibit or prevent a public agency, prior to the 121st day after the effective date of this section, from considering environmental factors in connection with the approval or disapproval of a project and from imposing reasonable fees in connection therewith.

 

 

21172. Disasters; property or facilities damaged; exemption


This division shall not apply to any project undertaken, carried out, or approved by a public agency to maintain, repair, restore, demolish or replace property or facilities damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster in a disaster stricken area in which a state of emergency has been proclaimed by the Governor pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1, Title 2 of the Government Code.

 

21172.5. Evaluation of projects and status of impact reports during moratorium period


Until the 121st day after the effective date of this section, any objectives, criteria and procedures adopted by public agencies in compliance with this division shall govern the evaluation of projects defined in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 21065 and the preparation of environmental impact reports on such projects when required by this division.
Any environmental impact report which has been completed or on which substantial work has been performed on or before the 121st day after the effective date of this section, if otherwise legally sufficient, shall, when completed, be deemed to be in compliance with this division and no further environmental impact report shall be required except as provided in Section 21166.

 

 

21173. Severability


If any provision of this division or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this division which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application thereof, and to this end the provisions of this division are severable.

 

 

21174. Construction of division; enforcement of other provisions; coastal act


No provision of this division is a limitation or restriction on the power or authority of any public agency in the enforcement or administration of any provision of law which it is specifically permitted or required to enforce or administer, including, but not limited to, the powers and authority granted to the California Coastal Commission pursuant to Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000). To the extent of any inconsistency or conflict between the provisions of the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000)) and the provisions of this division, the provisions of Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000) shall control.

 

 

21175. Local agency formation commission; confirmation, validation and legality of project approvals


In the event that a local agency formation commission, acting pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 6.6 (commencing with Section 54773) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of, or pursuant to Division 1 (commencing with Section 56000) of Title 6 of, the Government Code, has approved a project without complying with this division, such approval is hereby confirmed, validated, and declared legally effective notwithstanding the failure to comply with this division; provided, that such approval shall have occurred prior to February 7, 1975.

 

 

21176. Judicial proceedings pending or determined; effect on operation of 21175


(a) Section 21175 shall not operate to confirm, validate, or give legal effect to any project, the legality of which was being contested in a judicial proceeding in which proceeding the pleadings, prior to February 7, 1975, alleged facts constituting a cause of action for, or raised the issue of, a violation of this division, and which was pending and undetermined on February 7, 1975.
(b) Section 21175 shall not operate to confirm, validate, or give legal effect to any project which had been determined in any judicial proceeding, on or before the effective date of this section, to be illegal, void, or ineffective because of noncompliance with this division.

 

 

21177. Presentation of grounds for noncompliance; objections to approval of project


(a) No action or proceeding may be brought pursuant to Section 21167 unless the alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division were presented to the public agency orally or in writing by any person during the public comment period provided by this division or prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination.
(b) No person shall maintain an action or proceeding unless that person objected to the approval of the project orally or in writing during the public comment period provided by this division or prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination.
(c) This section does not preclude any organization formed after the approval of a project from maintaining an action pursuant to Section 21167 if a member of that organization has complied with subdivision (b).
(d) This section does not apply to the Attorney General.
(e) This section does not apply to any alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division for which there was no public hearing or other opportunity for members of the public to raise those objections orally or in writing prior to the approval of the project, or if the public agency failed to give the notice required by law.

 

 

21178. Environmental impact reports


(a) This section applies only to an application received on or before January 1, 2001, by the permit issuing agency, for a permit to construct a project consisting of facilities, processing units, or equipment necessary to produce Phase 3 reformulated gasoline.
(b) A lead agency shall determine whether an environmental impact report should be prepared within 30 days of its determination that the application for the project is complete.
(c) If a lead agency determines that an environmental impact report should be prepared, the lead agency shall send a notice of preparation, as provided in Section 21080.4, within 10 days of that determination.
(d) If the environmental impact report will be prepared under contract with the lead agency pursuant to Section 21082.1, the lead agency shall issue a request for proposals for preparation of the report as soon as it has adequate information to prepare a request for proposals, and in any event, not later than 30 days after the time for response to the notice of preparation has expired. The contract shall be awarded within 30 days of the response date for the request for proposals.
(e) The period of time for public review and comment on a draft environmental impact report shall be 45 days from the date that a copy of the draft environmental impact report is sent with the public notice by first-class mail, or any other method that is at least as prompt, to any requester. The lead agency may extend the comment period for not more than 15 days if it determines that the public interest will be served. This subdivision shall not be construed to limit the authority of the lead agency to hold a public hearing to receive comments on the draft report after expiration of the 45-day period, or any extended review period. Any comment concerning the adequacy of a negative declaration or environmental impact report that is not received by the lead agency within the 45-day comment period, within any extended review period, or at a public hearing held after the expiration of the 45-day period, shall not be considered part of the record before the lead agency in considering a project approval.
(f) Where a public agency has approved a negative declaration or certified an environmental impact report and approved a project, but has failed to file within five working days after the approval becomes final, the notice required by subdivision (a) of Section 21152, the permit applicant may file a notice of approval, as specified in Section 21152 with the county clerk. The notice shall identify the approving agency and shall contain all of the information required by Section 21152. For purposes of Section 21167, a permit applicant's filing of a notice pursuant to this subdivision shall have the same effect as the public agency's filing of the notice required by Section 21152.
(g) No environmental impact report shall include a discussion of a "no project" alternative, nor shall it include a discussion of any alternative sites for the project that are outside of existing refinery boundaries.
(h) Any action or proceeding brought pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 21167 shall be commenced within 20 days after the filing of the notice required by subdivision (a) of Section 21152 by the lead agency if the final environmental impact report is sent, by first-class mail at least 15 days before the notice is filed.
(i) For the purposes of this section, "Phase 3 reformulated gasoline" means gasoline meeting the specifications adopted by the State Air Resources Board on or before January 1, 2000, pursuant to Executive Order D-5-99.
(j) The deadlines established in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) may be extended by a public agency, to the extent that delay is caused by a failure of the applicant to provide necessary information on a timely basis or by the applicant's delay in paying any fees required by the lead agency for preparation of the environmental impact report.
(k) This section shall be repealed on January 1, 2003, unless a later enacted statute, which is enacted on or before January 1, 2003, deletes or extends the date on which it is repealed.