CEQA/Initial Studies/EIRs

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was signed into law in 1970 (Public Resources Code; § 21000 et seq). Among its provisions, CEQA requires public agencies carrying-out or approving a discretionary project to conduct an environmental analysis to determine if project impacts could have a significant effect on the environment. The first step in CEQA analysis is to determine whether an exemption can be applied. While most projects qualify for a CEQA exemption where they would not result in a significant environmental impact, if a project could have significant impacts on the environment and an exemption is not applicable, an initial study must be prepared to evaluate the project and provide mitigation measures where applicable. If the environmental impacts cannot be avoided and sufficient mitigation measures are not feasible to reduce impacts to a less than significant level, CEQA requires that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must be prepared. In some cases redesigning a project may be required to avoid significant impacts.

A primary purpose of CEQA is to allow for members of the public to review and comment on discretionary projects. The links below provide access to the analysis used to support a proposed application through an initial study or Environmental Impact Report. Comments should focus on the sufficiency of the document in identifying and analyzing the possible impacts on the environment and ways in which the significant effects of the project might be avoided or mitigated. Comments are most helpful when they suggest additional specific alternatives or mitigation measures that would provide better ways to avoid or mitigate the significant environmental effects.

Review a CEQA Document