California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot and other leaders have launched the Cutting Green Tape initiative to improve permitting and funding efficiencies for ecological restoration and natural resource stewardship. The California Landscape Stewardship Network supported the Natural Resources Agency this effort by convening five visionary and action-oriented roundtables between December 2019 and April 2020.
These meetings brought together the collective wisdom and experience of over 150 regulatory agency staff, local governments, NGOs, public and private land owners, tribes, and a range of other stakeholders. Together, we created specific recommendations for how to increase permitting effectiveness, expedite project review and approval, improve cross-jurisdictional collaboration, and more.
The final report, Cutting Green Tape: Regulatory Efficiencies for a Resilient Environment, is now available. This document includes 14 key recommendations to enable good restoration and stewardship projects to happen more efficiently and cost effectively. A recent blog post from Secretary Crowfoot announcing the report also includes a memo that outlines more details about the Agency's vision for its implementation.
Several webinars have also been held to discuss the reports recommendations and next steps, including:
- Cutting Green Tape: Sneak Peek to the Path Forward, October 29, 2020
- Check in and Connect: Cutting the Green Tape (hosted by Sustainable Conservation), December 11, 2020
- Cutting Green Tape: Regulatory Efficiencies for a Resilient Environment (hosted by the Coastal Conservancy), February 8, 2021
- Webinar: Cutting Green Tape (hosted by TOGETHER Bay Area), March 31, 2021
- Cutting Green Tape Exchange, April 6, 2021
Why Do We Need Cutting Green Tape?
California is leading the way on tackling numerous social and environmental challenges. Nevertheless, the sweeping and rapid changes we face from climate change and biodiversity loss pose grave threats to this and future generations.
And yet, we have not been able to take the kinds of bold and immediate action required to meet the pace and scale of these challenges.
One reason for this is that the laws and regulations created to protect the environment from harmful activities are less suited to those meant to be beneficial. These rules tend to focus on minimizing risk and avoiding short-term impacts, often at the cost of considering longer-term benefits or the risk of inaction. Some of the ways they are written and administered also often have the unintended consequence of limiting the pace, scale, and efficiency of environmental work.
The urgent need to take action to protect California’s vital natural life support system will mean “cutting green tape” to reform these government processes and requirements so that work can happen more quickly, simply, and cost-effectively.
How Will Cutting Green Tape Help?
Momentum is building for transformative and durable changes that remove barriers to restoring, enhancing, and preserving our natural resources and ecological systems. Cutting Green Tape is tapping this momentum to create solutions that:
- create efficiencies in permitting and regulatory compliance for environmentally beneficial projects;
- maintain commitments to California’s environmental regulatory safeguards;
- and allow for state agencies to meet statutory requirements while more easily permitting efforts that seek to build resilience.
The 2019 – 2020 roundtables created a set of tangible, discrete, and time-bound recommendations, tactics and mechanisms to advance these recommendations, and a list of actions the Secretary is committed to taking.
Cutting Green Tape Roundtable Materials
The Final Report
Previous Roundtable Meeting Notes & Agendas
- December 18, 2019 Meeting Agenda
- December 18, 2019 Meeting Notes
- January 6, 2020 Meeting Agenda
- January 6, 2020 Meeting Notes
- February 12, 2020 Meeting Agenda
- February 12, 2020 Meeting Notes
- March 18, 2020 - Meeting cancelled due to COVID-19; invitees contributed input virtually on the documents linked below.
Roundtable Presentations and Materials
Note: The March 18, 2020 roundtable was cancelled due to COVID-19. The materials below were sent to invitees for feedback via email and phone.
- Detailed Table of Potential Actions to Increase Efficiencies in Permitting Restoration (Excel)
- Summary Diagram of Potential Actions to Increase Efficiencies in Permitting Restoration (PDF)
- Cutting Green Tape White Paper Principles and Outcomes
Better, Faster, Stronger Resources (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
- Summary of Stakeholder Input and Proposed Next Steps (December 18, 2019)
- Better, Stronger, Faster Roll Out Meeting Agenda (December 18, 2019)
- Better, Stronger, Faster Roll Out Meeting Notes (December 18, 2019)