SRS can help developers navigate through the various federal, state, and local laws that surround cultural, paleontological, geoscientific, and biological resources. As experts, we can provide consultation to individuals seeking to understand, manage, and comply with the most up-to-date statutes.
In 1969, the federal government enacted its first law aimed at protecting the nationís environmental resources, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The following year, California created a legislative committee dedicated to integrating NEPA into state policy. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the result of California's legislative efforts to comply with federal mandates. Passed in 1970 with effective implementation in 1973, CEQA requires all activities approved by a public agency (or discretionary committee) to assess the impacts a proposed project will have on the physical environment. However, the CEQA guidelines and regulations continuously change as new amendments are reviewed and adopted, and evolving case law spearheads revisions. The SRS founder was involved in the early legislative efforts resulting in CEQA, and the current company follows the Actís continual changes.
The most recent change to state statutes were put into effect in 2015. Assembly Bill No. 52 (AB-52) was passed late-2014 to amend the current policy surrounding Native American resources. The implementation of AB-52 mandates tribal consultation and the consideration of tribal knowledge when assessing potential impacts. Additionally, AB-52 has broadened the definition of what constitutes as a cultural resource. Previously, a cultural resource was reserved to archaeological and historical objects and buildings. AB-52 has coined a new term, Tribal Cultural Resources (TCR), to be more inclusive of culturally-valued resources, whether they be tangible objects or conceptual. The enactment of AB-52 has placed a new emphasis on collaboration with tribal governments to help understand how indigenous populations used, and continue to use, local landscapes.
SRS has been dedicated to Native American studies for over 40 years. As a company with three specialized branches, we are uniquely qualified to meet all of your needs. We have an entire branch (SRSinc) dedicated to the understanding, application, and management of legal regulations to development projects for scientific resources. Our team of qualified experts can help guide and navigate you through any compliance issue. Our ethnographic branch (SRScorp) specializes in the ethnographic study of living indigenous populations, providing the resources and expertise to help identify and assess significant TCRs that may impact your development project as required by AB-52. These branches work together as one holistic unit to meet your needs at every stage of your development.