CDCR begins CEQA process for the closure of CCC

The lack of a California Environmental Quality Act review by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regarding the proposed closure of the California Correctional Center remains one of the issues raised by the city of Susanville in its lawsuit seeking to block the closure of the state correctional facility.

CDCR has announced it is preparing a CEQA review and holds a public scoping meeting that allows public comment.

CDCR will facilitate a virtual scoping meeting to present information on the proposed project and solicit oral comments from agencies and the public on the scope and content of the EIR at 5 p.m. Thursday, January 27.Register in advance for this webinar at us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SUvAzehdQLWegZp1FVJUnw. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

According to a statement from CDCR, “In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has released for public review a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the Closure of the California Correctional Center (CCC) Project in Susanville, CA.  CDCR will be holding a public scoping meeting to present information on the proposed project and solicit comments on the scope of the EIR.

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“In compliance with Section 5003.7 of the California Penal Code, CDCR is required to notify the state budget committees of the California State Assembly and California State Senate, as well as the Legislative Analyst’s Office, of two specific state-owned and -operated prisons proposed for closure. The CDCR Secretary has identified the Deuel Vocational Institution (closed as of Sept. 30, 2021) and the California Correctional Center.”

According to the statement, “CDCR is proposing to close CCC, in part, because of the overall statewide decline since 2010 of more than 52,000 incarcerated persons housed in state correctional facilities. CDCR projects a long-term population decrease, which allows CCC to close without compromising the safety and security or the overall welfare of the incarcerated population at the remaining active correctional facilities. The CCC closure also would not affect any ongoing statewide CDCR programs including rehabilitative programs, health care, or other requirements mandated by the federal courts.

“Although CDCR plans to cease operations at CCC, a reduced number of personnel would be retained to ensure that the facility is maintained in operating condition. Operation of neighboring High Desert State Prison (HDSP) would continue, with the responsibility of operating some facilities that HDSP shares with CCC to be transferred to HDSP. This transition to a fully closed facility would result in the retention of approximately 10 staff to minimize deterioration of critical facility infrastructure and maintain the perimeter’s secure fencing. No public access would be allowed on the grounds without advance approval. Security would be maintained seven days a week.

CDCR has considered the environmental effects and “has concluded that the proposed project may result in significant environmental effects and determined that an EIR is necessary. CDCR is initiating preparation of an EIR to analyze the potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects of construction and operation of the proposed project. The EIR will describe the potential for the proposed project to result in physical environmental changes to each resource area identified below. CDCR will consider comments received to determine the scope of the issues to be addressed in the EIR. Mitigation measures will be identified, where appropriate, to avoid and reduce any significant impact to less-than-significant, if feasible.”

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CDCR also is requesting public and agency comments on the NOP. The NOP can be found online at CDCR CCC Closure NOP.

The NOP review period began Jan. 11 and ends Feb. 14. Comments may be sent anytime during this NOP review period. Include the name of a contact person for your agency or organization, if applicable, and the project name in the subject line.

All comments should be directed to:
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division
Attention: Peter J. Connelly Jr.
P.O. Box 942833
Sacramento, California 94283-0001
E-mail: [email protected].